Bankruptcy Trends From 2008-2012

Bankruptcy Trends From 2008-2012

Bankruptcy Filings Decline 14% in 2012

It is clear that the bankruptcy industry follows economic trends quite heavily. Recent data from the U.S. court system on bankruptcy filings shows that bankruptcies continue to decline, meaning that attorneys may need to reevaluate their marketing strategies.

Source: uscourts.gov

Source: uscourts.gov

Overall, bankruptcy filings declined by 14% in 2012 from 2011. This continues the overall trend of deline from the peak in 2010 from the Great Recession.

Source: uscourts.gov

Source: uscourts.gov

Over the last 4 years, Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings have remained relatively stable even during the Great Recession. However, Chapter 7 bankruptcies have fluctuated greatly over the same span of time.

What This Means for Your Practice

  1. The pool of potential bankruptcy clients is smaller. However, bankruptcy filings are still much higher than they were in 2008 before the recession began. While the overall pool may be shrinking, there are still plenty of bankruptcy clients for aggressive attorneys that can compete effectively and find those individuals looking to file bankruptcy.
  2. The economy is still stagnating. There are many signs that the economy isn’t improving much from recession levels. Also, there are many signs that another recession may be coming. This means that bankruptcy filings may stay constant or even rise if another recession comes.
  3. Find Chapter 13 clients. If you deal with Chapter 13 clients, you shouldn’t worry too much. Chapter 13 filings are not declining much. If you file mostly Chapter 7 cases, you may need to consider how to reach out to these clients since the market is declining and competition is increasing.
  4. Evaluate your marketing efforts. While clients were easier to find during the recession due to higher volumes, now a more aggressive, planned marketing strategy may be necessary to reach out to the smaller market that remains.

 

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