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未来几年最炙手可热的职业之一:破产律师
发布时间:2020-05-29 14:31

比如:自1月份以来,在线求职网站ZipRecruiter上的破产律师职位空缺增加了两倍,而其他所有行业发布的招聘岗位却减少了48%。与此同时,德汇律师事务所(Dorsey Whitney)和普衡律师事务所(Paul Hastings)等大型公司业务律所都在招募律师充实破产业务团队,为企业重组潮做好准备。

美国破产协会执行董事艾米?奎肯博斯表示:“我们预测企业破产数量肯定会激增。一个重要的问题是在多短时间内会有多少企业破产。”

目前的经济混乱已经导致J. Crew、J.C. Penney和尼曼集团等多家引人注意的公司破产。4月,根据《破产法》第11章申请破产保护的公司同比增长了26%,而5月份的情况不见得会有所好转。

法律行业必须加足马力满足需求。近十年来,律师事务所一直在裁减破产律师,因为2008年金融危机之后经济强劲复苏,申请破产和破产保护的公司数量一直在稳步减少。

奎肯博斯说,为了填补空缺,一些律师事务所用没有太多经验的年轻律师和只有其他商务经验的律师,临时拼凑出一支破产律师团队。她说,在正常时期从事并购业务和其他大型金融交易的律师,非常适合转行为破产律师。在经济衰退期间,并购和大型金融交易通常都会减少。

在经济衰退时期破产业务激增,在经济繁荣时期则会减少,这种周期性并不新鲜。然而,新冠疫情的突然爆发,让当前这段时期显得尤为突出。

德克萨斯州大学奥斯汀分校法学院破产法教授杰伊?韦斯特布鲁克表示,20世纪80年代,德克萨斯州经济陷入严重衰退,他被一家大型律师事务所请去为其房地产律师突击培训破产法。他说,目前针对其他领域的律师提供的类似的破产法补习班在“大幅增多”。

但这并不意味着转行的律师能马上成为破产领域的高手。同样在德克萨斯州大学奥斯汀分校教授破产法的安吉拉?利特文表示:“你希望与你合作的是专家。但你可能很快就会遇上麻烦。”

大型公司业务律师事务所King Spalding表示,其已经组织了内部培训,以帮助430多名合伙人和律师“重新掌握”处理破产业务的技能。但该律所强调,完成培训的律师需要接受资深破产律师的监督。

经济衰退肯定会对刚入行的律师产生重大影响。美国即将毕业的三年级法律专业学生普遍在危机爆发之前就已经找好了工作。韦斯特布鲁克说他没有听说德克萨斯大学的学生失业的消息。但目前的二年级法律专业学生可能会更认真地考虑选择破产法专业。

但破产律师业务的繁荣,或者换一个角度来说,公司的破产潮,不会永远持续下去。利特文认为:“很可惜,在这方面,学生们相对缺乏远见。职业是一条漫长的道路。”

这意味着现在转行从事破产业务的许多律师,在一年或者三年内会转到其他专业领域,比如民事诉讼和合同法等。韦斯特布鲁克说,有的人会觉得破产业务很有趣,所以愿意继续从事这方面的工作。

他们除了法律知识以外,还需要具备良好的人际交往技能。美国国家消费者破产律师协会联合创始人艾克?舒尔曼表示:“优秀的破产律师必须富有同情心和同理心。他们必须是出色的倾听者和合格的向导。你必须找到一种与客户沟通的方式,并且让客户听从你的意见。”

奇怪的是,美国破产协会的数据显示,4月,个人破产案件比2019年同比减少了近50%。资深破产律师和专业破产律师事务所Gold, Lange Majoros的联合创始人斯图尔特?高德表示,个人破产减少的原因可能是联邦救济计划发放的现金,帮助许多人解决了经济困难。

他预测,随着救济计划结束,个人破产案件会大幅增多。高德说:“我们预计会有许多人申请破产,因此我们将在第三和第四季度加大招聘力度。”

美国破产协会执行董事奎肯博斯表示,一个更棘手的问题是如何填补破产法官空缺。来自哈佛大学和杨百瀚大学的两位教授本月估计,为了应对破产案件激增,美国现任破产法官的数量需要增加一倍。有多位学者已经呼吁美国国会采取措施解决人手不足的问题。

奎肯博斯说:“人们担心,破产案件激增可能让法院超负荷运转。但[安排一位法官]需要一年的时间。这种事情无法一蹴而就。”(财富中文网)

比如:自1月份以来,在线求职网站ZipRecruiter上的破产律师职位空缺增加了两倍,而其他所有行业发布的招聘岗位却减少了48%。与此同时,德汇律师事务所(Dorsey Whitney)和普衡律师事务所(Paul Hastings)等大型公司业务律所都在招募律师充实破产业务团队,为企业重组潮做好准备。

美国破产协会执行董事艾米?奎肯博斯表示:“我们预测企业破产数量肯定会激增。一个重要的问题是在多短时间内会有多少企业破产。”

目前的经济混乱已经导致J. Crew、J.C. Penney和尼曼集团等多家引人注意的公司破产。4月,根据《破产法》第11章申请破产保护的公司同比增长了26%,而5月份的情况不见得会有所好转。

法律行业必须加足马力满足需求。近十年来,律师事务所一直在裁减破产律师,因为2008年金融危机之后经济强劲复苏,申请破产和破产保护的公司数量一直在稳步减少。

奎肯博斯说,为了填补空缺,一些律师事务所用没有太多经验的年轻律师和只有其他商务经验的律师,临时拼凑出一支破产律师团队。她说,在正常时期从事并购业务和其他大型金融交易的律师,非常适合转行为破产律师。在经济衰退期间,并购和大型金融交易通常都会减少。

在经济衰退时期破产业务激增,在经济繁荣时期则会减少,这种周期性并不新鲜。然而,新冠疫情的突然爆发,让当前这段时期显得尤为突出。

德克萨斯州大学奥斯汀分校法学院破产法教授杰伊?韦斯特布鲁克表示,20世纪80年代,德克萨斯州经济陷入严重衰退,他被一家大型律师事务所请去为其房地产律师突击培训破产法。他说,目前针对其他领域的律师提供的类似的破产法补习班在“大幅增多”。

但这并不意味着转行的律师能马上成为破产领域的高手。同样在德克萨斯州大学奥斯汀分校教授破产法的安吉拉?利特文表示:“你希望与你合作的是专家。但你可能很快就会遇上麻烦。”

大型公司业务律师事务所King Spalding表示,其已经组织了内部培训,以帮助430多名合伙人和律师“重新掌握”处理破产业务的技能。但该律所强调,完成培训的律师需要接受资深破产律师的监督。

经济衰退肯定会对刚入行的律师产生重大影响。美国即将毕业的三年级法律专业学生普遍在危机爆发之前就已经找好了工作。韦斯特布鲁克说他没有听说德克萨斯大学的学生失业的消息。但目前的二年级法律专业学生可能会更认真地考虑选择破产法专业。

但破产律师业务的繁荣,或者换一个角度来说,公司的破产潮,不会永远持续下去。利特文认为:“很可惜,在这方面,学生们相对缺乏远见。职业是一条漫长的道路。”

这意味着现在转行从事破产业务的许多律师,在一年或者三年内会转到其他专业领域,比如民事诉讼和合同法等。韦斯特布鲁克说,有的人会觉得破产业务很有趣,所以愿意继续从事这方面的工作。

他们除了法律知识以外,还需要具备良好的人际交往技能。美国国家消费者破产律师协会联合创始人艾克?舒尔曼表示:“优秀的破产律师必须富有同情心和同理心。他们必须是出色的倾听者和合格的向导。你必须找到一种与客户沟通的方式,并且让客户听从你的意见。”

奇怪的是,美国破产协会的数据显示,4月,个人破产案件比2019年同比减少了近50%。资深破产律师和专业破产律师事务所Gold, Lange Majoros的联合创始人斯图尔特?高德表示,个人破产减少的原因可能是联邦救济计划发放的现金,帮助许多人解决了经济困难。

他预测,随着救济计划结束,个人破产案件会大幅增多。高德说:“我们预计会有许多人申请破产,因此我们将在第三和第四季度加大招聘力度。”

美国破产协会执行董事奎肯博斯表示,一个更棘手的问题是如何填补破产法官空缺。来自哈佛大学和杨百瀚大学的两位教授本月估计,为了应对破产案件激增,美国现任破产法官的数量需要增加一倍。有多位学者已经呼吁美国国会采取措施解决人手不足的问题。

奎肯博斯说:“人们担心,破产案件激增可能让法院超负荷运转。但[安排一位法官]需要一年的时间。这种事情无法一蹴而就。”(财富中文网)

Bankruptcy attorneys are the new rock stars in the legal world, an ignominious consequence of the coronavirus pandemic decimating the economy.

Consider this: Openings for bankruptcy attorneys have tripled since January on online job board ZipRecruiter, while postings across all industries have fallen 48%. Meanwhile, big corporate law firms like Dorsey Whitney and Paul Hastings are adding lawyers to their bankruptcy teams in preparation for a deluge of business restructurings.

“We definitely anticipate a surge of bankruptcies," says Amy Quackenboss, executive director of the American Bankruptcy Institute. “The big question in the crystal ball is how many, and how soon.”

The current economic chaos has already triggered high-profile bankruptcies by the likes of J. Crew, J.C. Penney, and Neiman Marcus. Overall, commercial Chapter 11 filings in April rose 26% year over year, and May is unlikely to be any better.

The legal industry will have to shift gears to meet the demand. Law firms have been shedding bankruptcy lawyers for nearly a decade, as Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 filings steadily declined because of the strong economy that followed the 2008 financial crisis.

To fill the shortage, Quackenboss says some firms are making do with younger attorneys who have limited experience and attorneys who have experience in other business-related specialties. Lawyers who normally work in mergers and other big financial transactions, which generally slow during a recession, are well positioned to switch to bankruptcy work, she says.

The cyclical nature of bankruptcy work—high during economic downturns, and low during economic booms—is nothing new. But the suddenness of the coronavirus shock makes the current period stand out.

Jay Westbrook, a bankruptcy professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, says that during a sharp recession in Texas in the 1980s, he was hired by a big law firm to give its real estate lawyers a crash course in bankruptcy. Similar refresher bankruptcy courses for lawyers from other fields are “exploding” in number currently, he says.

But that doesn’t mean converts will be instant virtuosos. “You want to be working with someone who’s an expert,” says Angela Littwin, who also teaches bankruptcy at UT–Austin. “You can get in trouble very quickly.”

Big corporate law firm King Spalding says it has held internal trainings to help more than 430 partners and associates “retool” to handle aspects of bankruptcy work. But it emphasizes that retrained lawyers will be supervised by bankruptcy veterans.

The downturn promises to have a major impact on newly minted lawyers. Graduating third-year law students in the U.S. generally had jobs lined up before the crisis hit, and Westbrook says he hasn’t heard of University of Texas students losing those jobs. But current second-year law students are likely looking more seriously at specializing in bankruptcy.

“Our [course] enrollments will shoot up substantially over the next couple of years,” says Westbrook.

But the boom—or, depending on your perspective, the bust—won’t last forever. “Students, unfortunately, tend to be relatively shortsighted on this,” says Littwin. “A career is a long time.”

That means many lawyers who are now shifting to bankruptcy work will, in a year or three, switch to other specialties, such as civil litigation and contract law. A few, says Westbrook, will find bankruptcy interesting enough to stick with it.

They’ll need good people skills on top of their legal chops. “The best bankruptcy lawyers have to have compassion and empathy,” says Ike Shulman, cofounder of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. “They have to be good listeners and capable guides. You have to find a way to communicate to clients and have them hear.”

Oddly, personal bankruptcies were down almost 50% in April compared with the same month in 2019, according to American Bankruptcy Institute data. Stuart Gold, a veteran bankruptcy lawyer and cofounder of the specialty firm Gold, Lange Majoros, says this is likely due to federal relief programs that have provided cash to many people in financial trouble.

As relief programs wind down, Gold expects personal bankruptcies to rise dramatically. “We anticipate we’re going to be ratcheting up and hiring in the third and fourth quarters,” Gold says, “because of the deluge of filings.”

An even thornier problem could be filling vacant bankruptcy judgeships, says Quackenboss, the American Bankruptcy Institute chief. Two professors from Harvard and Brigham Young University this month estimated that the U.S. needs to double the number of sitting bankruptcy judges to cope with the surge. A group of scholars has urged Congress to take action on the issue.

“That’s something people are concerned about, that the courts might be deluged,” says Quackenboss. “But it takes a year [to install a judge]. You don’t just snap your fingers.”