With recent times being tough, many Americans have struggled to make ends meet. As a result of this, bankruptcy claims have skyrocketed. Though this is bad news for many, it does have a silver lining for those in the legal profession: with more bankruptcy claims being filed, more bankruptcy lawyers are needed. This makes it an appealing field for law school graduates.

What is a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

Per the Federal Judiciary, a bankruptcy lawyer works in bankruptcy law, an arm of the legal profession that helps people who can no longer pay creditors. Bankruptcy lawyers help obtain a fresh start for those who are financially strapped by liquidating assets to settle debts or by creating repayments plans. This type of lawyer also works with businesses to help distribute payments to creditors or liquidate entire or sections of companies.

Bankruptcy Law: A Promising Area For Newly Minted JDs?

Bankruptcy Lawyers in Recent Times

America’s history hasn’t always been one of smooth sailing: trying times have consistently popped up. From the Great Depression to the stock market crash in 1987, the finances of the US have always come with a hint of instability. Most recently, the burst of the housing bubble and the credit crisis of 2008 left millions of US citizens in financial dire straits: hundreds of thousands were forced to file for bankruptcy.

In California alone, according to the Annual Bankruptcy Institute, the difference in bankruptcy filings between 2007 and 2011 for both businesses and individuals was drastic. In 2007, 72,615 Californians filed for bankruptcy. By 2008, that number had nearly doubled to 133,233. In 2009, the numbers were even higher at 209,818, while 2010 numbers increased to 260,210. Though 2011 numbers showed a little reprieve by decreasing to 240,151, the variance in this five year period is still extreme. Essentially, half a decade saw residents of the Golden State more than triple their bankruptcy filings.

With so many more people filing the bankruptcy, the need for need for those who know bankruptcy law has increased as well.

Bankruptcy Law: A Promising Area For Newly Minted JDs?

A Shortage of Bankruptcy Lawyers

In some areas, the demand for bankruptcy lawyers has been much greater than the supply; this has resulted in a shortage. Some lawyers have hired recent law school graduates in an attempt to keep up with the clients visiting bankruptcy clinics.

In fact, these bankruptcy clinics provide an “in” for many new bankruptcy lawyers. Several law schools offer both second and third year students an opportunity to enroll in bankruptcy clinics. The benefits of enrollment include: gaining hands-on experience; amassing legal experience that is practical and actual (such as interviewing clients, drafting bankruptcy petitions, and gathering data); and working under and receiving guidance from a seasoned attorney. Some law schools also offer their students the opportunity to intern in a bankruptcy law firm, further giving them the opportunity to gain experience and network with attorneys.

When this acute need for bankruptcy lawyers is coupled with the above opportunities, law students who choose to go into bankruptcy law may have an easier path than those who go into other legal areas.

They may also have a path that is more rewarding; with law being a profession that is not always afforded the most favorable reputation, bankruptcy law gives lawyers the chance to truly help people during struggling times. It gives lawyers the chance to make a positive difference in the lives of many.


In addition to law, Jared Stanford focuses on personal finance, investment, accounting, wealth management, business development and other such matters; curious readers interested in learning more about the world of finance should check out the accounting jobs with moneyjobs.com.

Image credit goes to NobMouse.

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