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Most Surprising Recession Stat

Washington DC Legal DC
Most Surprising Recession Stat

Bankruptcies are...down? Unlike during the recession of the late '80s and early '90s,25-year bankruptcy law vet George Pitts says a boom in bankruptcy filings didn't happen. (Also, parachute pants were not required to file.) Bankruptcy practices have had to flex other muscles.


George recently joined Wiley Rein's bankruptcy practice as a partner (after 20 years with Dickstein), though he's long known chair Jason Gold and partners Valerie Morrison and Alex Laughlin. He's repped everyone from the FDIC to financial institutions in bankruptcy cases across 10 states and DC. One reason behind the lack of bankruptcy boom, he says, could be a "greater sophistication across the board" and less of a reflexive tendency to jump to bankruptcy as the only solution. More organizations are trying workouts and state procedures, which are less expensive and less complicated than bankruptcy. Companies that don't need the flexibility and protection provided by a Chapter 11 (like the finality of court proceedings and court-approved asset sales) often see it as an expensive alternative.


You have to admire George's dedication to law: he moved back from Hawaii (where he'd been a professor after getting a UPenn MA and PhD) to attend law school at UVA. The two professions aren't that different, he says. A good argument ought to sound like an explanation. If people sense you're arguing with them, human nature is to resist.Outside of the office, the past English prof tells us he's finishing up Why Does the World Exist by the New Yorker's Jim Holt.

Related Topics: Wiley Rein, New Yorker, Jason Gold