Petition to Make Telephonic Appearances a Permanent Feature of Bankruptcy 341 Hearings
This petition is intended for U.S. Bankruptcy Attorneys, Trustees, Administrators, and other affected parties, to be submitted to the Office of the United States Trustee.
IN THE COMMENT SECTION OF THE SIGNATURE FIELD PLEASE ADD YOUR STATE BAR NUMBER OR THE JOB POSITION YOU HOLD RELEVANT TO THE BANKRUPTCY PROCESS (e.g. Paralegal, Trustee, etc.)
The title of this petition is self-explanatory for its purpose. The emergency COVID-19 adjustments to bankruptcy proceedings have made it clear that telephonic appearances are a workable solution to fulfill the bankruptcy process. These adjustments have also brought to focus many benefits, as outlined below:
1. Clients will be able to reduce the hardships associated with physical 341 appearances, such as the time and expense of commuting to and from the hearing, the opportunity of scheduling less time off work, and the expense of finding caretakers for minor children. Debtors who are filing bankruptcy are already financially distressed -- it makes little sense to exacerbate that distress when a viable alternative has presented itself.
2. By allowing bankruptcy attorneys to appear telephonically, they can remain productive while awaiting their appearance time(s) for one or more dockets.
3. The Office of the U.S. Trustee may be able to eliminate costs and/or repurpose the facilities used for 341 hearings.
4. Hearings can be held even during inclement weather conditions, ensuring a continuity of process and decreasing the transportation hazards for all involved.
5. Reducing the burden on security personnel for screening while also increasing the safety of the proceeding.
6. By utilizing this technology, the Office of the U.S. Trustee will be making meaningful contributions to reducing traffic congestion, energy demands, and pollution.
For these and perhaps many other reasons, We, the Petitioners, respectfully request the Office of the United States Trustee to establish that telephonic 341 hearings be made a permanent feature of the bankruptcy process.