Attorney General selected consumer advocate for key bankruptcy position

Director Tara Twomey

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland has selected consumer advocate Tara Twomey to serve as director of the U.S. Trustee Program (USTP) at the Department of Justice.

“The United States Trustee Program plays a critical role in ensuring the fairness of the bankruptcy process — including by providing impartial oversight and protecting consumer debtors from fraud and abuse,” said Garland. “I am confident that Ms. Twomey’s leadership will advance USTP’s mission to promote the integrity and efficiency of the bankruptcy system for debtors, creditors, and the public.”

Twomey has over 20 years of experience working on bankruptcy and consumer credit issues.

She currently serves as the executive director of the National Consumer Bankruptcy Rights Center, which advances the rights of consumer bankruptcy debtors.

Each year, millions of individuals and families across the country struggle to pay their bills. Often financial distress follows on the heels of other unanticipated events such as job loss, divorce, substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses and natural disasters.

Bankruptcy may provide these debtors with the opportunity for a fresh start.

Personal bankruptcy is a fundamental right authorized by Article I, Section 8, of the United States Constitution, which mandates Congress to enact “uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies” for the benefit of debtors who are United States citizens. 

Consistent with the original mandate of the U.S. Constitution, probably the single most fundamental goal and mission for which the federal bankruptcy laws are enacted by Congress, is to give debtors a financial “fresh start” from the burden of crushing debts.

The Bankruptcy Code grants financially distressed debtors certain rights that are critical to the proper functioning of the economic system as a whole.

However, bankruptcy debtors, lacking both financial resources and exposure to the bankruptcy system, often do not have the ability to protect the integrity of the bankruptcy system and preserve the bankruptcy rights of consumer debtors more generally. The National Consumer Bankruptcy Rights Center (NCBRC) was created to fill that vacuum.

She is Of Counsel at the National Consumer Law Center, and serves as a member of the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules.

The is the author of numerous books and articles on bankruptcy law and practice, Twomey has served as an instructor at Boston College Law School, Harvard Law School, and Stanford Law School.

Twomey is a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, a conferee of the National Bankruptcy Conference, and a director of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego, and her Juris Doctor, summa cum laude, from Boston College Law School.

“Throughout her career as a practitioner, scholar, and teacher, Tara Twomey has been a leader in the bankruptcy bar and a passionate voice for making the bankruptcy system accessible to all,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “She will bring energy, experience, and judgment to her new role as USTP Director. I look forward to working with her in this new role.”

USTP is the only neutral party in the bankruptcy process and brings a national perspective to every bankruptcy matter.

USTP also plays a critical role in protecting consumer debtors against fraud and abuse.

USTP consists of the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees, located in Washington, D.C., and 21 regions with 90 field offices throughout the country.

The Director of USTP is responsible for leading approximately 1000 employees to implement USTP’s core mission to protect the integrity of the bankruptcy system.

Twomey will assume her duties on Feb. 27.

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