Chapter 7 Consumer Bankruptcy Basics

On April 30, 2021, Doug Cortés of Center for Arkansas Legal Services gave this virtual presentation on Chapter 7 Consumer Bankruptcy. It provides a general overview of consumer Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases and covers the most frequently encountered and important aspects of Chapter 7 Consumer Bankruptcy cases. ***CLE credit is not available for watching the presentation on-demand.***


1. Introduction

2. Overview of Bankruptcy

3. Automatic Stay

4. Petition, Schedules & Means Test

5. Bankruptcy Estate & Exemptions

6. Meeting of Creditors

7. Discharge & Dischargeability

8. Secured loans in Chapter 7

9. Judicial Lien Avoidance

10. Time between filings

11. Credit Reporting

12. Q & A

J. Douglas Cortés, Staff Attorney

Center for Arkansas Legal Services


Doug has focused his legal career on the practice of commercial and consumer bankruptcy law, including work on some of the largest and smallest cases in the country. He has represented debtors, creditors, and bankruptcy trustees, and has served as a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Examiner. A certified mediator in Texas, Doug has mediated in the areas of family law, business and contract disputes, and multi-party bankruptcy litigation, and has provided pro bono mediation services to those with low or no income. While in law school, Doug studied under the Honorable Barbara J. Houser, Chief Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Texas, and the Honorable D. Michael Lynn, emeritus Editor-in-Chief of Bloomberg Bankruptcy Treatise, the latter for whom he also externed and clerked. More recently, Doug graduated “with distinction” upon completion of an LL.M. in Energy Law, after which he and his family returned to his native Arkansas. He has been named a “Rising Star” in the area of Debtor & Creditor Rights by his peers and a “Hometown Hero” for his community service work by the Northeast Tarrant Chamber of Commerce (Texas). Doug served 13 years as an enlistee and officer in the Arkansas Army National Guard and in the U.S. Army Reserves in Texas. Among his other community involvement, Doug is a past chairman of the board of the Samaritan House of Fort Worth, Texas. He joined the team at the Center for Arkansas Legal Services as a staff attorney in December 2018.


Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Energy Law, Vermont Law School

Juris Doctor (J.D.), Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Liberal Arts, University of the State of New York


Doug enjoys spending as much of his free time as possible with his wife Maria and their three children, especially travelling. He has twice hiked El Camino de Santiago in Spain. His other activities include golf, snow skiing, scuba diving, hiking, and relaxing in a hammock, and is by far most proficient with the hammock.