Restructuring and Insolvency Law
Restructuring and insolvency lawyers act for clients (either individuals or companies) in financial difficulties. Restructuring is usually the first stage in the process of agreeing a way forward with creditors in order to manage repayment of the debt, without the client becoming insolvent.
What does this type of lawyer do?
As a restructuring lawyer, you may be acting for either debtors or creditors. The work you undertake would be non-contentious, and centre around negotiating agreements and repayment schedules to enable the creditor to pay off the debt without becoming insolvent.
As an insolvency lawyer, again you may be acting for either debtors or creditors, but the work will be contentious. Insolvency lawyers are engaged in all stages of the insolvency process, from negotiating company voluntary arrangements, administration, receivership, and liquidation, where the individual or company’s assets are taken to pay off the outstanding monies owed.
As with many areas of law, the precise nature of the work will depend to large extent on the type of firm you work for, and the clients they represent. For instance, City firms are more likely to act for banks or investors in cases of big corporate restructurings and insolvency: smaller firms usually represent smaller companies or individuals in financial difficulty.
What skills are required?
In order to advise clients on every aspect of restructuring their business, you will to have very good levels of commercial awareness, as well as excellent and persuasive communication skills in order to deal with people in difficult situations.
Your communication skills will also come into play when negotiating with debtors or creditors (depending on which side you are acting for), and working alongside other professionals involved in the process, from liquidators to accountants; or when litigating on your client’s behalf.
This is an academically demanding area of law, covering many different fields (banking, commercial, litigation and so on) and you will need to be able to absorb large volumes of paperwork and make accurate judgement calls quickly.
It probably goes without saying, but having an interest in the world of business and finance is a pre-requisite for this area of law.
To a large extent, demand for restructuring and insolvency lawyers runs counter-cyclical to the economic situation: when times are hard and companies and individuals are struggling to fulfil financial agreements made in happier times, this is a generally a flourishing area of law. While the economy has improved in recent years, and there has been a decline in insolvencies, many businesses are far from stable and any blip in the economy or change to interest rates could affect them.
What's it like in practice
Find out what some of our people who have practised in the area of restructuring and insolvency say about it, and the advice that they would give those interested in a career in this area. Look at the following Case Study:
The student guides to the legal profession tend to have useful information working in restructuring and insolvency law. Look at:
- Chambers and Partners Student guide: http://www.chambersstudent.co.uk/
- Target Law: http://targetjobs.co.uk/career-sectors/law-solicitors
- The Insolvency Lawyers’ Association website contains a useful news section: http://www.ilauk.org