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Bankruptcy Law

A guide to locating federal statutes, court rules, case law and secondary materials available in the UCLA Law Library and online.

What's in this Guide?

This Guide contains resources that a bankruptcy practitioner or researcher is likely to need. We suggest a research path and provide recommended resources for locating relevant case law, statutes, rules, legislative history, case law and databases. The guide includes both free resources and, where indicated, resources only available to the UCLA or UCLA Law School community.  

Frequently Used Resources

Print and paid online resources (online access restricted to UCLA Law students and faculty): 

Free online resources:

Glossaries and Dictionaries.  Bankruptcy practitioners and scholars are heavy users of jargon, making it sometimes difficult for newcomers to understand their instructions and requests.  Your first task in any research assignment is to look up any terms you do not understand.  Use these resources as a starting place.

Steps of Bankruptcy Research

Legal research steps:

When you first begin researching a bankruptcy law issue, consider following these basic research steps:

  • Define the issue, including looking up any jargon you do not understand and asking clarifying questions (check our list of Bankuruptcy Glossaries and Dictionaries above)
  • Determine the jurisdiction
  • Identify the relevant statute, bankruptcy rule, civil rule, or local rule, and read it carefully
  • Consult a treatise (using the statute, rule, or key words)
  • Reassess key words and topics
  • Conduct case law research
  • Repeat steps as necessary

Company research steps:

Sometimes, research related to a specific company may require you to learn about that company's equity structure, debt obligations, and financial performance.  For a public company (a company whose shares trade on one or more stock exchanges), this information is often available in SEC filings. Research steps should include the following:

  • Determine the relevant company.  Where there are multiple related companies, look for a publicly owned parent.
  • Identify the relevant time period. 
  • Identify the type of filing, if known (see the SEC's Index to Forms).
  • Consult resources for SEC filings (see the Company Research page within this Guide).