About David Cox….
I have enjoyed practicing Bankruptcy law for over 20 years in the Lynchburg area. I feel blessed to have worked with such wonderful people at Cox Law Group during this period and appreciate the opportunity to practice alongside such excellent attorneys at the firm like Dave Wright, Janice Hansen, and Heidi Shafer. We have developed a strong team to help individuals, families, farmers, and small business owners dealing with overwhelming debt, and I look forward to continuing to fulfill this mission of our firm for many years to come.
About Bankruptcy During the Pandemic….
You may be surprised to learn that the pandemic of 2020 did not result in the “tsunami” of personal bankruptcy that was predicted soon after the COVID-19 shutdowns in the spring. In fact, personal bankruptcy filings are down 28% for the year. Interestingly, business bankruptcy filings did increase in 2020; however, they still amount to a very small percentage of the filings here in the Western District of Virginia.
Although filings have been down, we have had to stay busy at Cox Law Group just keeping up with all of the changes to bankruptcy law that have been inserted into various COVID relief and appropriations acts. Without question, we have had more legislative changes to the practice in 2020 than we have in any year since the overhaul of the system by the enactment of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. Many of these changes have been quite technical and targeted at allowing for specific relief to those impacted by COVID-19.
The most significant single change to the Bankruptcy Code in 2020 was the addition of a new “subchapter” type of bankruptcy filing. Small business clients, whether individuals or entities, may now take advantage of the streamlined Subchapter V of Chapter 11 provisions intended to reduce costs and increase relief to those struggling with debt related to commercial activities.
This year our firm filed and confirmed the first Subchapter V case in the Fourth Circuit and one of the first in the country. Our Subchapter V business filings along with several Chapter 12 farm cases have helped to fill the void for our firm left by the reduction of consumer filings.
The Future of Bankruptcy…
With the new administration in Washington, more change is likely on the horizon for Bankruptcy practitioners. Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act was introduced late in 2020 and would make wholesale changes to the consumer provisions of the Code. We will have to “wait and see” whether any of those changes find their way into the Code this year.
Of course, Bankruptcy filings remain low in the first part of 2021, but most agree this trend will change once the various forms of government aid run out. How quickly filings increase is anyone’s guess, but after such a turbulent period for our region and the country as a whole, I am looking forward to helping those that need relief whenever they are ready.