Douglas Buckley ’13 was the third place winner of this year’s highly competitive American Bankruptcy Institute’s Law Student Writing Competition. Buckley’s paper, “Loss Mitigation in Bankruptcy: Judge-Made Programs that Need More Support,” was published in the Consumer Bankruptcy Committee’s (ABI) June newsletter. “Hundreds of applicants submitted their papers to the competition, so it makes me very proud to be selected representing Brooklyn Law School,” said Buckley. “The honor is a tribute to the Law School’s terrific bankruptcy curriculum.”
In addition to recognition and publication of his paper, Buckley received a one-year ABI membership and a cash award sponsored by McGuireWood LLP.
Beginning with the foreclosure crisis, Buckley addresses the limitations of, and steps taken to strengthen, loss mitigation. “While corporations and those who own vacation homes may modify mortgages on real property,” Buckley wrote, “the bankruptcy code singles out owner-occupied residential property as the only category of property for which the related loan cannot be modified in bankruptcy.”
Buckley agrees that loss mitigation programs, when faced with a colossal housing crisis, succeed in meeting the modest expectations placed on them, but major limitations remain and their removal would help increase the overall success rate of loss mitigation. These limitations include unequal access to loss mitigation programs, the lack of a statutory basis for creating these programs, and the lack of incentives for mortgage lenders to modify home loans. He concludes that these limitations should be formally addressed by Congress and the Consumer Financial Protection Board.
Buckley likens bankruptcy law to putting together a big puzzle. “Whether it is an individual or a company you are representing,” he explained, “as an attorney, you are challenged with determining how to put all the structural pieces together again to fix the financial problem.” He credits Professor Michael Gerber for encouraging his interest in the area of bankruptcy. "I took Professor Gerber’s Business Reorganizations class, which was instrumental to my education. He was also always quick to point out any extracurricular or networking opportunities to help me shape my career,” said Buckley.
Buckley currently serves as the Brooklyn Law Review’s Associate Managing Editor for the 2012-2013 academic year. This summer he interned for the Chief Bankruptcy Counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Enforcement. After completing Law School, Buckley hopes to eventually work at a local bankruptcy firm or for a government bankruptcy agency.