Peter Lattman captures the atmosphere at the outset of Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, as professionals vie for their piece of the action:
We just returned from the U.S. Trustee's Calpine bankruptcy confab at New York's Grand Hyatt hotel and were sorely disappointed. The California utility, which filed for bankruptcy at the end of December, only served ice water; last year's Delta meeting featured coffee and soda (did Delta borrow from its airplane beverage carts?).
U.S. Trustee Diedre Martini organized the gathering to form the Calpine creditors' committee, which will represent the unsecured creditors during the bankruptcy. By our estimate there were over 250 people filling the hotel's ballroom.
You'd think that a get-together of people owed money by Calpine would be a solemn affair, but it felt more Kiwanis Club than Creditors Club. That's because most of the people in the room weren't creditors; they were the lawyers, bankers, and consultants who make their livings off the carcasses of bankrupt companies like Calpine.
And this is one tight-knit group. After Martini and CEO Bob May delivered 10 minutes of bland introductory remarks, they adjourned the meeting for two hours to select a committee. At that point a party broke out. The various advisors lingered, glad-handing and networking their way through the room. We even ran into a few hedge fund managers working the crowd, trying to handicap their investments.
I've always thought that there would be at least one good novel about Chapter 11, perhaps John Grisham with a touch of Tom Wolfe thrown in.
Lattman's WSJ Law Blog is definitely off to a great start--lots of interesting stuff over there. He also has a blawg roundup on business, bankruptcy, and white-collar crime issues.
Also from the WSJ, see this interesting article on the "Third-Year Dilemma" of law firms, describing the high frequency with which associates leave large law firms during their third year of practice and what some firms are doing about it.