Bar News - July 20, 2016
Federal Practice & Bankruptcy: No Plans Yet for US Trustees to Move to Concord
By: Kristen Senz
The US Bankruptcy Court in Manchester will move to the Warren B. Rudman United States Courthouse in downtown Concord next year, saving the federal government $682,000 in annual rent savings, according to officials at the First Circuit. It remains unclear, however, whether the United States Trustees Office, which is currently located in the same building as the court on Elm Street in Manchester, will move to Concord as well.
When feasible, the US Trustees Program prefers to co-locate trustees with the bankruptcy court, according to a statement from the Executive Office for United States Trustees in Washington, DC.
“Each situation is different, so when a bankruptcy court moves, there are a number of factors that must be taken into account,” according to the statement. “At this time, the US Trustee Program has not finalized any plans related to the upcoming move of the New Hampshire bankruptcy court. We also are not aware of any plans for private trustees to relocate when the bankruptcy court moves to Concord next year.”
The Brady-Sullivan building at 1000 Elm St. in Manchester currently houses the US Trustees and trustee meeting rooms on the seventh floor, IRS offices on the ninth floor, bankruptcy court offices on the tenth floor and the courtrooms on the eleventh floor. A US Post Office on the first floor makes the building a convenient one-stop shop for attorneys, consumers and businesses with bankruptcy cases.
Elsabeth McGohey, an attorney in Manchester who handles both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases, said it could cause some confusion among her consumer clients about where they need to go and when, if the US Trustees Office were to remain in Manchester. As an attorney who regularly schedules trustee meetings and has hearings in the bankruptcy court, a second location would change her work significantly. “Right now, it’s pretty convenient to have it all in the one location,” she said. “I would have to build in travel to Concord to my current routine.”
The bankruptcy court move will most likely happen in August 2017, according to Circuit Executive Susan Goldberg at the First Circuit.
“Ideally, the move will happen over a three-day weekend, so we’re hopeful that we don’t have to close at all, but if we do, it would just be limited to a day or two,” Goldberg said.
Design work on the space at the federal courthouse that will house the bankruptcy court is wrapping up this summer. The court will occupy 9,338 square-feet of the Concord courthouse, mostly on the second floor, where the court intake area and the bulk of the office space will be. Of that area, 4,183 square feet will be assigned to office and support space, 2,145 square feet will be used for the courtroom, 2,210 square feet will be assigned as chambers space, and 800 square feet will be storage space in the basement.
The move was designed as a cost-saving measure, part of a multi-year effort by the federal judiciary to reduce its facility footprint. The federal bankruptcy court will no longer need to pay for leased space once it moves to Concord. The US Trustees Program is part of the executive branch and operates under the auspices of the US Department of Justice.