GM & Bankruptcy: Won't Somebody Think About the Lawyers?

May 26, 2009

It's good news/bad news time for General Motors.

On the downside: bankruptcy is looming. For a while, it looked as if things might shake out in the General's favor, sparing it from the fate that's befallen Chrysler. Today, however, the prevailing sentiment seems to be that GM will be heading to court shortly after the company submits its restructuring documents on or before next Monday, June 1.

Also on the downside: this bankruptcy is going to be big. As in seriously complicated. Possibly the most complex case ever to wind itself through the judicial system, based on the hours of manpower that's needed to shove it through, not to mention the sprawling assets and contracts that'll need to be negotiated.

On the upside: Chrysler's bankruptcy case is going swimmingly (if we can say that about a bankruptcy case), and it looks to meet the 30-day wrap-up goal set by the feds. GM's will take longer, but it's nice to see that people can stick to timetables.

Also on the upside: GM's bankruptcy will put a lot of people in business. Unfortunately, by "a lot of people", we don't mean automakers or sales personnel or anyone else who's already lost a job. No, we mean lawyers--battalions of them. In fact, the jokes about finding enough qualified bankruptcy lawyers to handle the case are only half-jokes. But the ones who're in it should make out like bandits: the law firm handling the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy have submitted an invoice for $55 million, and that's just for the first three months of work. At that rate, GM's case ought to keep every Lionel Hutz in the Lower 48 busy for a while--to say nothing of the hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, copy shops, and massage parlors needed to take care of them while their counting all those beans.

At what age is it too late to go back to law school?

[source: NYTimes]

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