During my third year of law school, I signed up for “Intro to Bankruptcy” at the University of Tennessee College of Law.
It wasn’t a popular course, and that’s why I chose it. After a summer clerkship where my supervising attorneys couldn’t spell the word “bankruptcy,” I thought it would be a good niche area to know in a tough job market.
Of course, I never imagined that, 21 years later, I’d have spent nearly every working day of my life spelling the word.
My class was taught by Professor Tom Plank, who really loved bankruptcy law. Passionately. When he got really excited in class, he had a thing he’d say: “What’s good for bankruptcy lawyers is good for America.”
Over the years, though, I’ve wondered what he meant. In my 20 plus years of bankruptcy practice, honestly, when I’ve been the busiest in Bankruptcy Court, it’s been a pretty awful time for Americans.
Sort of like the time we are entering right now…
This article in tomorrow’s Tennessean will discuss the the financial impact of the coronavirus. Spoiler alert: It’s not good.
The article, Bankruptcy lawyers’ warning as coronavirus crisis mounts: Act Now, has good practical advice for people wondering how they are going to pay their bills.
Nashville bankruptcy attorney Griffin Dunham and I were both consulted for the article.
Griffin’s first piece of advice? “Act now. Waiting to address financial concerns would only exacerbate problems.”
My advice? “People who are out of work or losing income because of the crisis shouldn’t wait until they’re out of money…If they feel like they’re in the pinch now, reach out to the landlord, reach out to the bank now.”
Dunham also advocates having a very deliberate plan when deciding to allocate limited cash resources. “The people and businesses that devise a plan, store cash, and think strategically are in the best position to weather the storm.”
It’s going to be bad. For many people, it’s already bad. Act now. Be proactive. Call your lender, call your landlord.
Or, if it’s really bad, call a bankruptcy lawyer.