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We're in the Money!(?)

posted by Jason Kilborn

Here in the U.S., lawyers in other areas must be eyeing their bankruptcy counterparts with envy, as our sector enjoys (if we can use that word without multi-directional guilt!) rapid growth while others areas are contracting. In England, this U.S.-bankruptcy-lawyer envy is doubly powerful, as even bankruptcy lawyers there are not as high-profile as in the U.S. As this TimesOnline story reminds us, reorganization ("administration") in the U.K. is not a lawyer-driven process, as is the Chapter 11 process in the U.S. Rather, it is an administrative process run mainly by accountants, who exercise significant business discretion with much less court oversight, and therefore much less need for lawyers. As more global businesses run into trouble, insolvency professionals from these two great nations separated by a common language will come into contact more frequently. When this happens, we U.S. lawyers need to remember that our U.K. colleagues are situated quite differently, and the reorganization process there is administered in a very different way. Just ask Richard Gitlin, who could regale us endlessly with stories about liaising (perhaps "doing battle" would be more apt?) with PriceWaterhouse in the Maxwell bankruptcy in the early 1990s (CreditSlips blogger John Pottow, among many, many others, has written about the case here). When these cross-cultural encounters among lawyers occur, let us U.S. bankruptcy lawyers try not to be too smug (for the humor impaired, yes, this is a little joke!).

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  • As a public service, the University of Illinois College of Law operates Bankr-L, an e-mail list on which bankruptcy professionals can exchange information. Bankr-L is administered by one of the Credit Slips bloggers, Professor Robert M. Lawless of the University of Illinois. Although Bankr-L is a free service, membership is limited only to persons with a professional connection to the bankruptcy field (e.g., lawyer, accountant, academic, judge). To request a subscription on Bankr-L, click here to visit the page for the list and then click on the link for "Subscribe." After completing the information there, please also send an e-mail to Professor Lawless (rlawless@illinois.edu) with a short description of your professional connection to bankruptcy. A link to a URL with a professional bio or other identifying information would be great.

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