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A sobering chronicle of our broken bankruptcy-court system, Courting Failure exposes yet another American institution corrupted by greed, avarice, and the thirst for power.
Lynn LoPucki's eye-opening account of the widespread and systematic decay of America's bankruptcy courts is a blockbuster story that has yet to be reported in the media. LoPucki reveals the profound corruption in the U.S. bankruptcy system and how this breakdown has directly led to the major corporate failures of the last decade, including Enron, MCI, WorldCom, and Global Crossing.
LoPucki, one of the nation's leading experts on bankruptcy law, offers a clear and compelling picture of the destructive power of "forum shopping," in which attorneys choose courts that offer the most favorable outcome for their bankrupt clients. The courts, lured by power and prestige, streamline their requirements and lower their standards to compete for these lucrative cases. The result has been a series of increasingly shoddy reorganizations of major American corporations, proposed by greedy corporate executives and authorized by case-hungry judges.
"LoPucki's provocative critique of Chapter 11 is required reading for everyone who cares about bankruptcy reform. This empirical account of large Chapter 11 cases will trigger intense debate both inside the academy and on the floor of Congress. Confronting LoPucki's controversial thesis-that competition between bankruptcy judges is corrupting them-is the most pressing challenge now facing any defender of the status quo."
—Douglas Baird, University of Chicago Law School
"This book is important reading for corporate executives who care about the bankruptcy system."
"LoPucki provides a scathing attack on reorganization practice. Courting Failure recounts how lawyers, managers and judges have transformed Chapter 11. It uses empirical data to explore how the interests of the various participants have combined to create a system markedly different from the one envisioned by Congress. LoPucki not only questions the wisdom of these changes but also the free market ideology that supports much of the general regulation of the corporate sector."
—Robert Rasmussen, University of Chicago Law School
". . . a clear and compelling picture of the destructive power of 'forum shopping,' in which attorneys choose courts that offer the most favorable outcome for their bankrupt clients. The courts, lured by power and prestige,streamline their requirements and lower their standards to compete for these lucrative cases. The result has been a series of increasingly shoddy reorganizations of major American corporations, proposed by greedy corporate executives and authorized by case-hungry judges. A sobering chronicle of the U.S. bankruptcy-court system, Courting Failure exposes an American institution corrupted by greed, avarice, and the thirst for power."
". . . LoPucki has nailed his ninety-nine theses to the door of Delaware's bankruptcy courthouse, blaming many of the ills of the current bankruptcy system on improper forum-shopping competition. He makes a powerful case supported by volumes of important and original empirical research. . . . . [T]he jury remains out on the validity of his thesis, but with this book, LoPucki frames the future terms of the debate."
—Georgetown Law Journal
"This book is smart, shocking and funny. This story has everything---professional greed, wrecked companies, and embarrassed judges. Insiders are already buzzing."
—Elizabeth Warren, Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
"Courting Failure is a must read, not just for those in favour of U.S. bankruptcy reform, but also for those seeking an interesting, albeit cynical, account of how corruption occurring in the U.S. bankruptcy courts has the potential to contribute to corporate failure."
—Saskatchewan Law Review 2006
"In a searing indictment of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court system, Lynn LoPucki paints a very unflattering picture of the results of bankruptcy court competition for big cases that began in the 1980s. Courting Failure is backed by years of research, hard numbers from LoPucki’s web-based research database, and anecdotal evidence that should make some bankruptcy professionals, particularly bankruptcy judges, squirm.”
—Francoise C. Arsenault, Turnarounds & Workouts Newswire
". . . a shocking indictment of how competition for large cases is perverting federal bankruptcy law and corrupting its court system. . . . [A] prescient warning of wide-ranging harm to the entire federal legal system, which will result if bankruptcy court competition is not reformed. . . . Courting Failure is a must read for every bankruptcy practitioner."
—New York Law Journal
". . . a scathing new book."
—The Kansas City Star
". . . a highly readable book on an important topic."
". . . a well-researched, highly accessible look at troubling practices in corporate bankruptcy law."
"The author reveals the profound corruption in the U.S. bankruptcy system, and how this breakdown has directly led to the major corporate failures of the last decade."
—Abstracts of Public Administration, Development, and the Environment