Bankruptcy Appellate Clinic

LW. 12273 / LW. 12274
Senior Fellow Judge Arthur J. Gonzalez
Professor Peter Gruenberger
Open to 3L, 2L and LLM students
Maximum of 10 students

Not offered 2016-17
4 credits*
Pre-requisites/Co-requisites: a bankruptcy course.

Course Description

The focus of the Bankruptcy Appellate Clinic is to provide appellate legal services to bankrupt individuals.  Insolvent individuals file over a million bankruptcy cases each year, generating hundreds of federal appeals.  Many of these appeals involve issues of vital importance to the administration of bankruptcy cases and the availability of bankruptcy relief to overburdened consumers.  As an indication of the significance of these matters, over the past twenty years the U.S. Supreme Court has routinely granted certiorari to review at least one bankruptcy appeal per term, most often a consumer case.  A case in point is Bullock v. BankChampaign, N.A., no. 11-1518 (2013), a recent matter in the U.S. Supreme Court.  Bullock involved an important issue concerning the scope of the debtor’s bankruptcy discharge.  During the Fall of 2014, the clinic prepared and filed an amicus brief for filing in the US Supreme Court on an important consumer bankruptcy issue in Bank of America v. Caulkett, no. 13-1421 (2015). As part of the course work, the students will engage in moot court-type oral arguments in support of the amicus brief.


The students’ work will include participating in a federal bankruptcy appeal involving an issue of importance to insolvent consumers. The participation would include the preparation and filing, if cert is granted within a timeframe that enables such filing by the clinic, of an amicus brief in support of the debtor.  The relevant fieldwork will include participating in strategizing the matter, reviewing the appellate record, conducting research, preparing one or more briefs, and attending oral argument (if feasible).


The relevant coursework will include a weekly two-hour seminar, which will focus on the study and development of appellate advocacy skills.  Materials for the seminar will include readings on various appellate advocacy topics.  As part of the seminar, students will be responsible for conducting a mock oral argument.  A prior or concurrent course on bankruptcy law is required, although this requirement may be waived at the discretion of the instructors.

Application Process

Please submit the standard clinic application, resume, unofficial transcript, and a writing sample of 10-15 pages via CAMS, the online application system. There will be no interview. If you have any questions regarding the clinic, please contact Prof. Arthur J. Gonzalez or Prof. Peter Gruenberger.

The Bankruptcy Appellate Clinic also welcomes LLM enrollments, but does not specifically reserve space for them. The application period for LL.M. students will take place from May 20-June 3, 2016. (Please note there is a separate application form for LLM students.)

Student Contacts

Clinic participants in Spring 2016 are:

Bordi, Ameneh
Chen, Stanley
Clements, Olivia
Diamond, Danielle
Eisenberger, David
Grossbaum, Daniel
Pan, Yuyi (Lisa)

* 4 credits include 2 clinical credits and 2 academic seminar credits.