Lawyers have never been afraid of indulging in schadenfreude, and now here's another good reason to take some joy in the misfortunes of others: While workers and investors at large bankrupt companies are suffering, the lawyers for the companies are working overtime and making a killing off of the companies' bankruptcy claims.
In fact, according to the New York Times, if auto giant GM ends up declaring bankruptcy (as everyone expects they will), the in-joke among lawyers is that there won't be enough bankruptcy attorneys to handle it. This is both a comment on the size of GM's potential bankruptcy, which
would be the largest in US history, and the fact that two other huge
corporations, Lehman Bros. and Chrysler, have also recently declared
bankruptcy and enlisted the services of bankruptcy attorneys at top
firms. Add to that the number of lawyers hired by the government to
deal with its stake in these bankruptcy proceedings, and there are
precious few bankruptcy attorneys left to deal with the gargantuan GM
Now, if you're reading this, there's a good chance that
you run your own firm or help to run a small to midsize firm. What,
you might ask yourself, do the enviable woes of a bunch of BigLaw
bankruptcy attorneys have to do with me?
Well, the sharp increase in the number of hours available for bankruptcy attorneys, combined with the growing trend
of BigLaw firms parceling out work to small and midsize boutiques in
order to cut costs and the fact that there are precious few BigLaw
bankruptcy attorneys to go around, means that small to midsize firms
have an excellent opportunity to grab up some of the bankruptcy work
that's going to be coming up shortly.
So go ahead and smile when you hear about a company going bankrupt - schadenfreude's just good business these days.