The purpose of the rule was to “to dilute
these practices and instill greater public
confidence in the system.” Rule 2013
requires that a public record be kept of
compensation to trustees, examiners,
and their professionals, but it does not
apply to debtors in possession or to
professionals employed by the debtor in
possession or the creditors’ committees.
Steve A. Peirce is a senior counsel in the San
Antonio, Texas, office of Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.
He focuses his practice on bankruptcy matters
and commercial litigation. He can be reached
at 210-270-7179 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
But just how does Rule 2013 dilute
cronyism? Chapter 7 trustees are
appointed from a rotating panel created
by the United States Trustee. 11 U.S.C.
§§ 701; 703, but see 702 (allowing
creditors to vote for a Chapter 7 trustee,
which is rare). Chapter 11 trustees and
examiners are appointed by the United
States Trustee after consultation with
the parties in interest. 11 U.S.C. § 1104(d).
Each of these officers essentially chooses
his or her own attorneys, accountants,
appraisers, auctioneers, and other
professionals, subject to court approval.
the Government Printing Office,
or PACER (Public Access to Court
Electronic Records). Because the rule
specifies that the reports be available
“without charge,” even PACER is
prevented from charging for them.
In 20-plus years of practice, the author
has never heard of anyone objecting to
someone’s appointment or employment
in a bankruptcy case by citing Rule 2013
or a Rule 2013 report, crying “cronyism”
and arguing, “This person should not be
hired because he already has made too
much money in the bankruptcy court.”
Lynn M. LoPucki and Joseph W. Doherty
detailed their comprehensive study of
professional fees in bankruptcy cases.
But nowhere in their article did they
mention Rule 2013 or any Rule 2013
reports. Without citing Rule 2013, the
authors stated that “copies of court
documents can be ordered directly from
the courts, but the process is expensive
and nightmarishly difficult. It often ends
only in the discovery that the documents
have been archived.” Id. at 112, n. 3.
Likewise, the author has found no
published opinions in which a party
cited Rule 2013 or a Rule 2013 report
in connection with any substantive
issue. Rule 2013 is not connected
to any particular Bankruptcy Code
section or any other statute, so it is
questionable whether any citation to
it in court would be very persuasive.
There are about 200 bankruptcy
court Web sites, all of them separately
maintained and with different layouts
and appearance. Random searches of
several of them revealed only one, the
Eastern District of California’s site, that
included a link to easily access Rule 2103
reports. This Web site contains links to
a table for each year showing recipient,
type of employment (e.g., trustee,
trustee’s attorney, special counsel,
appraiser, or accountant), case number,
order date, fees, and expenses. The
report for 2011 is 53 pages and details
more than $40 million in fees. Perhaps
many other clerks, or maybe all of them,
have these reports on their Web sites, but
if that is true, they are not easy to find.
Instead, LoPucki and Doherty manually
examined all fee applications and orders
for selected large cases used in their
study. Even professional researchers,
it seems, could not readily get their
hands on these Rule 2013 reports.
And where are these Rule 2013 reports
anyway? Rule 2013(a) provides that
the bankruptcy clerk create them
and that they be “kept current and
open to examination by the public
without charge.” Rule 2013(b) would
indicate that the United States Trustee
has a summary of these reports,
which are also “open to examination
by the public without charge.”
In their 2004 scholarly article “The
Determinants of Professional Fees in
Large Bankruptcy Cases,” Journal of
Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 1, Issue 1,
111-141 (March 2004), law professors
So crusaders who are dedicated to
stamping out perceived cronyism in
the bankruptcy system or those who
are just curious as to who is making
big bucks in bankruptcy court should
just look for the Public Record of
Compensation Awarded to Trustees,
Examiners, and Professionals that is
current, open to public examination, and
free of charge. And anyone who finds
it should please let this author know. J
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But as far as the author could determine,
there appears to be no central location
on the Web where these reports or any
summaries are housed. The author
found nothing concerning Rule 2013
reports on Web sites for the United
States Trustee, United States Courts,
To acquire an individual or a group of professionals in any major U. S. city,
please contact Bruce Peters or Jennifer Eible.
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