Drop in Business Bankruptcies Creates BigLaw Slowdown

  • United States
  • 09/09/2010
  • Debra Cassens Weiss - American Bar Association

Business bankruptcies are down 4 percent in the first six months of the year, and that’s translating to a bit of a slowdown for law firms once inundated with restructuring work during the height of the economic meltdown.

Most partners interviewed by the New York Law Journal said they have enough ongoing bankruptcies to keep them busy, although some lawyers have noticed a difference in work levels.

Jay Goffman, co-head of the restructuring group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, was one of them. “If you’re in restructuring, you were working around the clock for the last 18 months,” he told the publication. “And now it’s much quieter than that.”

Howard Seife, chair of the bankruptcy and financial restructuring practice at Chadbourne & Parke, told the New York Law Journal that the drop in filings has created a more competitive environment. Some firms, he said, are showing more interest in representing the committees for unsecured creditors. “In recent cases we’ve pitched for committees, there’s been enormous turnout of law firms looking for work,” he said.

Although bankruptcy filings dropped for businesses, they are increasing for others. Overall, bankruptcies were up by 14 percent for the first six months of 2010, and up by 15 percent for consumers.