Monday, November 01, 2010

200th Post!!!

This blog began on June 2, 2006 with a post entitled Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Federal Jurisdiction in Anna Nicole Smith Case; Few Prurient Details in Opinion. Now, 1,613 days later (a number which does not appear in BAPCPA), I am on my 200th post. For this post, I am going to take a look back at how the blog started and look back at some of my favorite posts.

How I Got Started

My introduction to blogging is a good illustration of technology has changed. Back in the day, the Austin Bankruptcy Bar would make copies of local unreported cases to pass out at meetings. This required making large numbers of copies and was done sporadically. Someone in the bar had a tech person who knew how to create a list serve. When I came across new cases, I would email them to the members of the list serve. Over time, I started adding some discussion of the cases so that my emails became short articles. At that point, Ron Satija suggested that I start a blog. I initially protested that I didn’t know how to create a blog, figuring that it must involve mastery of html, javascript and klingon (apologies to Weird Al). However, Ron sent me an email showing how to create a blog in three easy steps and it took off from there.

Blogs are a very democratic medium. Anyone can start a blog at no cost (if you don't count billable hours lost) and very little computer knowledge. Go to Click on the button that says "Create a Blog" and follow the instructions from there. If you can access the internet and type, you can start a blog. The real challenge is to put up content that someone else will want to read.

Most Popular Posts

At some point, I installed Google Analytics on my site. This allowed me to track which posts received the most traffic. The tracking isn't perfect, since I don't have it for the whole time I have had the blog. However, as near as I can tell, here are the ten most viewed posts, several of which have been viewed over a thousand times:

1. Assigned Credit Card Debt: A Problem of Paper, Electronic Images and Faith (June 13, 2007). This was the first article that I wrote about assigned credit card debt, a problem which foreshadowed the current problem of missing mortgage documents.

2. Judge Kelly Finds 401k Loans Deductible Under Means Test (November 22, 2006). I have no idea why this post was so popular. It was about a very well-reasoned opinion from former Bankruptcy Judge Larry Kelly, which, unfortunately, was reversed the following year.

3. The Sad Case of John Gellene or What It Feels Like to Be Struck By Lightning (July 16, 2006). John Gellene was a lawyer who went to prison for failure to adequately disclose connections on a Rule 2014 disclosure. Milton C. Regan, Jr. wrote a book about the case, which I received at the State Bar of Texas Bankruptcy Section Annual Meeting. I was struck by the randomness of the prosecution so I wrote about it.

4. Court Protects Homestead Proceeds But Leaves Open Questions About Tardy Objections (October 22, 2007). Bankruptcy Judge Leif Clark has provided me with a lot of excellent material to write about over the years and this post was about one of his thoughtful opinions. I managed to discuss the Texas Homestead exemption, Judge Clark and Avril Lavigne in the same post.

5. Bankruptcy Court Limits Texas Homestead Under 1,215 Day Rule (May 26, 2008). This was a rare post about one of my own cases. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the decision earlier this year.

6. Means Testing Opinions Strictly Construe Statute While Identifying Problems (August 10, 2006). In the days after BAPCPA took effect, we were all trying to figure out how this means testing stuff would work. This post examined some of the earliest opinions.

7. Bad Debtors Find Limited Homestead Protection (June 5, 2007). There seems to be a pattern here: people want to read about the Texas homestead exemption. This post drew a sequel when one of the debtors involved called and demanded that I remove his name from the post. Thus, you can read about Mr. Name Withheld by Request (although you can easily go to 366 B.R. 677 to find his name in the published opinion).

8. Interesting Opinion on Privilege and Work Product (December 21, 2009). Another post about an opinion from Leif Clark. However, this post's popularity seems random.

9. Leif Clark on Reaffirmations: Six Short Clark Opinions and What They Mean (April 7, 2009). These opinions caught my eye because I noticed that Judge Clark was writing a lot of really short opinions denying reaffirmations. He seemed to be sending a message, so I did my part to pass the message along.

10. Judges Examine the Murky Standing of MERS (December 30, 2009). At the end of each year, I try to write about opinions that I didn't get around to. This was one of those end of year posts.

My Favorite Posts

Some of my personal favorites were not among the most popular. However, they are still special to me. Here are some posts worth revisiting (in reverse chronological order):

1. Do Not Hide Assets From the Trustee. You Will Get Caught and Go to Jail (August 25, 2010). One of the frustrations of being a bankruptcy lawyer is being cornered at a party with a story about someone who filed bankruptcy and hid his assets. In the popular mind, this is a common occurrence. It is actually quite rare in my experience. This story made a good object lesson because the guy who tried to hide assets got caught red-handed. The post has the pictures to prove it.

2. Chrysler Seeks the Ultimate 363 Sale as the Treasury Department Dictates the Pace (May 3, 2009). The Chrysler and GM cases will probably go down in history as two of the most important cases of our time. This was my attempt at providing some real time analysis based on the filings in the case.

3. Pennsylvania Judge Writes Epic Opinion on Technology and Professional Responsibility (April 26, 2009). This massive opinion caught my eye because it captured the tension between law as a business and a profession. While the case that I wrote about was reversed, the questions it raised are still relevant. This post formed the basis for an article I wrote for the Texas Bar Journal entitled "Maintaining Professional Responsibility While Using Legal Technology, 72 Tex. Bar J. 538 (July 2009).

4. Judge to Secured Creditor: The Loan has been PAID!!!! (February 3, 2009). This opinion captured the uniquely blunt style of former Judge Frank Monroe. The headline says it all.

5. Tchaikovsky's Overture: How an Unremarkable Case Took on a Life of Its Own (July 19, 2008). This post was about a dischargeability case in California. While the ruling was unremarkable, the media coverage of it captured the unease about the emerging mortgage crisis.

6. Don't Mess With Judge Jernigan (October 27, 2006). One of the things that appeals to me about bankruptcy blogging is the unique styles of the various judges. In this particular post, Judge Stacey Jernigan caught an attorney omitting a key phrase from a statute. With deft humour, she noted that "Thankfully, the court has several copies of the Bankruptcy Code handy so it could consult the entire statutory provision in addressing this this question."

7. On Abstention, Multi-Prong Tests and Being Mistaken for David Bowie (September 27, 2006). This post was about a classic Leif Clark opinion which explains that a picture is worth a thousand multi-part tests. Only Judge Clark would compare himself to David Bowie. You just can't make this stuff up.

8. Opinions Regarding Failure to Obtain Credit Counseling Underscore Dissatisfaction With Law (July 18, 2006). The outspoken Judge Frank Monroe gained a lot of attention when he blistered Congress in an opinion about credit counseling. This post used three opinions to contrast approaches to credit counseling.

9. From Seminole to Katz: What a Long Strange Trip It's Been (June 7, 2006). This was my history of the Supreme Court's decisions on Eleventh Amendment immunity. I realize that finding this fascinating classifies me as a total nerd. However, I like it.

10. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Federal Jurisdiction in Anna Nicole Smith Case; Few Prurient Details in Opinion (June 2, 2006). This was the post which got me started as a blogger.

Here's to the first 200 posts. I hope to be here for another 200.


Ron said...

Great post as usual! I am a pretty unlikely candidate to have sparked this, considering that technologically (& a whole host of other ways) I am an idiot. Believe me, you've more than repaid the inspiration with all the help you've given me over the years. Thanks & here's to the next 200!

claiming bankruptcy said...

Its a nice post and I really like the way of your writing..Looking forward for your more post..