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A Day in the Life: Sixth-Year Associate, Bankruptcy Law, St. Louis, Missouri

6:30 a.m.: I head to the gym for my morning workout. Between family and work, if I don’t get to the gym in the morning, I don’t get there at all.

8:00 a.m.: I grab a quick breakfast with my two daughters before I head out. After breakfast, I grab my briefcase and drive to the bankruptcy court for the Southern District of Illinois in East St. Louis for a hearing.

8:30 a.m.: I arrive at the bankruptcy court. My firm represents a secured lender providing a multimillion-dollar credit facility to a manufacturing company that recently filed for Chapter 11. The bankruptcy partner from my firm is already at the courthouse. We discuss the matters the Chapter 11 debtor will be presenting at the hearing, namely its request to the bankruptcy judge for final authorization to enter into the debtor-in-possession DIP credit facility with our client (the bankruptcy court previously authorized the debtor to enter into the facility on an interim basis). Attorneys for the debtor, creditors’ committee, and United States Trustee show up, and we all enter the courtroom.

9:00 a.m.: The hearing begins. Our case is not the only matter scheduled for the 9:00 docket, so the bankruptcy judge hears several matters before getting to us. No one filed an objection to the Chapter 11 debtor’s request to enter into the DIP facility, so after a brief presentation by debtor’s counsel, the bankruptcy judge gives final approval to the facility. After the conclusion of the hearing, the attorneys involved in this case meet in the hallway, and we discuss several other issues related to the proceedings.

9:45 a.m.: I check my voicemail on the drive to the office. I call an attorney and discuss an order entered by the bankruptcy court for the Eastern District of Missouri in my hometown, St. Louis, in a case in which we represent the Chapter 11 debtor.

10:00 a.m.: At the office, I check my e-mail. I have already received several e-mail messages related to the bankruptcy hearing I just attended. A junior associate stops by to review her draft of a motion for judgment on the pleadings in a bankruptcy case in which we represent the Chapter 11 debtors in the Western District of Missouri. We are planning to file this motion early next week. The attorney gives me her draft of the motion, and I begin marking it up to incorporate my comments and revisions.

10:15 a.m.: I take a telephone call from a client in Mexico regarding a proof of claim we have been asked to file in a bankruptcy case pending in the District of Delaware. We discuss a few issues related to the proof of claim and I tell the client we will file the claim later this week.

10:30 a.m.: I meet with a junior attorney assisting me with the registration of a Missouri judgment in California. We recently handled a jury trial for one of our bank clients for whom we received a favorable judgment. The bank would now like us to register this Missouri judgment in California, which will allow it to be filed as a judgment lien against real estate owned by the defendant in California. My colleague updates me on the status of this registration and the efforts of an attorney in our California office who is assisting us with this matter.

10:45 a.m.: A partner calls to ask me to join him for a meeting in his office. Once I’m in his office, we discuss a bankruptcy hearing coming up at the end of the month in the Northern District of Illinois bankruptcy court in Chicago. He asks me to cover the hearing. The hearing involves a Chapter 11 debtor’s request to reject several leases involving one of our clients. Our deadline to file a response to the debtor’s request is the end of the week, so I need to get up to speed on the issues right away. I get copies of the relevant documents and pleadings and plan to review them later today. I also make a note that, because I am not admitted to practice in the bankruptcy court for the Northern District of Illinois, I must prepare and file an application to appear in this case pro hac vice [Latin for "for this occasion"].

12:30 p.m.: It looks like it's going to be a busy afternoon, so rather than eat in my firm’s dining room and talk shop with the other attorneys, I eat at my desk (the hearing in the bankruptcy court this morning has put me a little behind on the day’s work).

1:00 p.m.: I retrieve and complete an application to appear pro hac vice in the Northern District of Illinois. I ask my secretary to prepare a check for the application fee and forward the application to an attorney in our Chicago office for filing.

1:15 p.m.: I take a phone call from an attorney representing a creditor in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case pending in the Eastern District of Missouri in which we represent the debtor. The attorney wants to know about the status of the case.

1:30 p.m.: My firm represents a bank client that has asked us to commence foreclosure proceedings against a commercial property located in Illinois. For the past couple of weeks I have been working with another attorney to prepare the foreclosure complaint and related pleadings necessary to commence the foreclosure action. I review each of the pleadings for the final time and make some minor revisions. I also ask my secretary to prepare a check for the filing fee for the foreclosure complaint and start making the appropriate number of copies of the pleadings that will be filed. Finally, I call my contact person at our client to update him as to the status of this matter.

2:30 p.m.: I have been asked to assist a partner in the New York office with a presentation to be given at an upcoming firm retreat in Florida. I review the materials the partner has forwarded to me and begin making notes about additional topics that might be of interest for the presentation.

3:00 p.m.: I get a call from a bank client regarding the status of a bankruptcy case pending in the District of Maryland. The bank is acting as the indenture trustee for a group of bondholders owed money by the Chapter 11 debtor. I call the debtor’s attorney and we discuss the status of the case. I pass along this information to the bank.

3:15 p.m.: I spend much of the remainder of the afternoon reviewing documents and drafting the response to the lease rejection motion I was just assigned this morning. As this response must be filed by the end of the week, I try to get a lot done this afternoon.

6:00 p.m.: I leave the office and head for home.


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