Why You Should Consider Corporate Restructuring/Bankruptcy Law

BC Law offers many opportunities for students interested in working at large law firms, typically placing approximately 30% of the class in firms of 100 attorneys or more. For students who want to work at large firms (many do not), there is a common question that students hear from fellow students, attorney-friends, and most importantly, law firm interviewers: “Are you interested in corporate or litigation work?”

For some people, this is an easy question to answer. If you got As on all your Legal Research, Reasoning & Writing papers and enjoyed memorizing the Erie Doctrine and all its puzzling derivations, perhaps litigation is for you. If you enjoy dropping buzzwords you don’t actually know anything about like “mergers and acquisitions”, “leveraged buyouts”, and “private equity” you are probably interested in corporate work–and I recommend you take your talents to Brahmin, Storyville, or other local venues with sometimes-impressionable audiences.

For those individuals who want to work for a large firm but don’t feel that they fit neatly into a litigation or corporate box, perhaps your fit is in Restructuring (which includes Bankruptcy, in addition to out-of-court restructuring).

Restructuring combines elements of both Corporate and Litigation practice. The process is typically driven by court motions and filings, and thus involves in-person hearings, confirmations, and oral arguments. The subject matter, however, focuses on the debt structure and liquidity of a company, which requires a young attorney to harvest an understanding of finance and capital structures.

For litigation-minded folks who may value the in-house exit opportunities of Corporate practice with an eye toward a long-term transition to a business role, Restructuring should be appealing. The framework of a Corporate Restructuring takes place within a specific legal code (the Bankruptcy Code). Therefore legal provisions are not simply a peripheral list of terms to be negotiated by outside counsel at the direction of business folks. As a result, investment bankers and Restructuring advisory groups are directly guided by the legal setting of their deal. Legal expertise is therefore highly valued by the banks assisting in the construction of these deals.

Restructuring operates on a counter-cyclical pattern, and the practice typically experiences the most growth in times of economic distress. Between falling oil prices, and trouble in markets like China (Trump voice), there is an expectation for revenue growth in bankruptcy-based industries in the upcoming year. This could lead to increased activity for law firm hiring in firms’ Restructuring groups.

BC Law students have the benefit of receiving Bankruptcy course instruction from Prof. Ingrid Hillinger, a bonafide guru of Bankruptcy and Chapter 11 Restructurings. (If you’re interested in learning about her mythical personal attributes, I’ll direct you to this video, which views like an outtake from the final scene of Mr. Holland’s Opus.) For students with even a faint interest in Bankrupcy Law, Prof. Hillinger’s Business Bankruptcy course is being offered this spring, and the class has no registration limit.

Patrick Venter is a 3L at Boston College Law School (“BC Law”) and serves as the Managing Editor of the Boston College Law Review.  Prior to BC Law, Pat worked as a consultant for FTI Consulting in New York and Washington, DC, focusing on healthcare and litigation consulting. After law school, Pat will be working in New York for Kirkland & Ellis, in the Firm’s Corporate Restructuring group. Pat can be reached at Patrick.Venter@bc.edu.

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