In the Sept. 27 edition of The Legal, several Pittsburgh bankruptcy and corporate partners gave their thoughts on whether the bankruptcy attorneys were about to see an upswing in work. The answer: a pretty resounding “no.”
In a follow-up to that article, Norman E. Gilkey of Babst Calland Clements & Zomnir offered his thoughts on what life as a bankruptcy lawyer has been like through this latest cycle.
“Undoubtedly, none of the ‘slower’ times I’ve witnessed/survived has been as long or as odd as this one has been,” Gilkey said. “I’ve been hearing for more than a year that busy times for business debtor-creditor rights lawyers are ‘just around the corner. ‘ Well, the ‘corner’ hasn’t arrived.”
According to Gilkey, hedge funds and venture capitalists are bigger players in the market than they ever used to be and banks are competing for business with much more intensity. Bankruptcies are often delayed because venture capitalists will step in and buy a distressed company before it gets to the bankruptcy stage, Gilkey said.
Because Pittsburgh often follows other large cities by a few years in industry trends, he said any hint of a downturn in the economy would hit Pittsburgh later than other cities.
Gilkey said Pittsburgh bankruptcy attorneys are doing more work outside of the commonwealth. He said he knows of no firms that are looking to add bankruptcy lawyers.
One positive for Gilkey during this slow time — he said he was able to play more golf this summer than in the last five years combined.
– Gina Passarella , Staff Reporter.