I have a job interview tomorrow! Almost two months ago, I submitted an application to be a trial attorney with the US Trustee’s office in Omaha, NE. Today I got a phone call setting up an interview tomorrow with the Assistant US Trustee for Nebraska. I am so very excited — this is the first interview I have had scheduled in this year’s job search. As a result, I have been doing some research to get ready for the interview.
First, let me show you what the website says about the US Trustee Program:
The United States Trustee Program is a component of the Department of Justice that seeks to promote the efficiency and protect the integrity of the Federal bankruptcy system. To further the public interest in the just, speedy and economical resolution of cases filed under the Bankruptcy Code, the Program monitors the conduct of bankruptcy parties and private estate trustees, oversees related administrative functions, and acts to ensure compliance with applicable laws and procedures. It also identifies and helps investigate bankruptcy fraud and abuse in coordination with United States Attorneys, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other law enforcement agencies.
Specifically, the US Trustees are responsible for:
- Appointing and supervising private trustees 3/ who administer Chapter 7, 12, and 13 bankruptcy estates (and serving as trustees in such cases where private trustees are unable or unwilling to serve);
- Taking legal action to enforce the requirements of the Bankruptcy Code and to prevent fraud and abuse;
- Referring matters for investigation and criminal prosecution when appropriate;
- Ensuring that bankruptcy estates are administered promptly and efficiently, and that professional fees are reasonable;
- Appointing and convening creditors’ committees in Chapter 11 business reorganization cases;
- Reviewing disclosure statements and applications for the retention of professionals; and
- Advocating matters relating to the Bankruptcy Code and rules of procedure in court.
Following is even more information that is gathered from a fact sheet on the website:
The vast majority of bankruptcy cases are filed by consumers rather than businesses. Most consumer cases are filed under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the federal Bankruptcy Code. Approximately 70 percent of cases are Chapter 7 liquidations filed by consumers, and nearly 30 percent are Chapter 13 wage-earner repayment cases. This fact sheet describes the United States Trustee’s primary responsibilities in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy cases.
Chapter 7 Cases
In Chapter 7 cases, the United States Trustee litigates issues that affect the integrity of the bankruptcy system. For example, the United States Trustee might:
- Argue that granting the debtor a bankruptcy discharge would constitute a “substantial abuse” of the bankruptcy process.
- Object to excessive fees requested by the debtor’s attorney.
- Take action against unlawful practices by bankruptcy petition preparers–generally, non-lawyers who receive a fee to prepare a consumer debtor’s bankruptcy papers.
The United States Trustee also appoints and supervises the Chapter 7 trustees who administer consumer debtors’ bankruptcy estates. In most Chapter 7 cases, no assets are available for distribution to creditors. However, if a Chapter 7 debtor has property that is not exempt from creditors’ reach under state or federal law, the trustee may sell that property and distribute the money to creditors.
The United States Trustee appoints each Chapter 7 trustee to a panel for up to one year, renewable at the United States Trustee’s discretion; these “panel trustees” are then assigned to Chapter 7 cases on a blind rotation basis. The United States Trustee supervises the panel trustees’ administration of individual debtor estates; monitors the trustees’ financial record-keeping; and imposes other requirements to ensure that the trustees carry out their fiduciary duties.
Chapter 13 Cases
In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the United States Trustee supervises the private trustees who administer Chapter 13 cases. In this chapter, the trustee does not liquidate the debtor’s assets, but instead helps organize the debtor’s financial affairs so the debtor may pay back some or all money owed to creditors.
A Chapter 13 debtor must propose a plan that devotes all disposable income to debt repayment over a period of up to five years. Most Chapter 13 cases are administered by “standing trustees” appointed by the United States Trustee to administer all cases filed in a particular geographic area.
As with Chapter 7 panel trustees, the United States Trustee supervises the Chapter 13 standing trustees’ administration of individual bankruptcy estates; monitors the trustees’ financial record-keeping; and imposes other requirements to ensure that the trustees carry out their fiduciary duties. The United States Trustee’s supervisory actions include:
- Periodically reviewing the trustees’ case reports, budget reports, bank account information, management skills, court performance, and similar information.
- Ensuring that trustees are bonded.
- Ensuring that trustees are independently audited.
- Determining trustees’ maximum annual compensation and actual necessary expenses.
- Providing training for trustees.
- Monitoring trust account funds.
I also went out to review interview tips and found the following questions that I might want to ask when it is my turn to ask questions:
- What do you like about working here?
- When can I expect to hear from you?
- If I am extended a job offer, how soon would you like me to start?
I also was reminded of the importance of sending a Thank You note after the interview, so I have to be sure to get the interviewer’s correct name — I am not sure if it is Patricia M. Fahey or Dugan; I have a valid street address.
I am actually a little upset right now since I think she has my old resume — I wish she had my newer and better resume.