Technically Bankrupt

61 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2017 Last revised: 22 Jun 2017

See all articles by Brook Gotberg

Brook Gotberg

BYU Law School; University of Missouri School of Law

Date Written: March 29, 2017


What is the difference between a robot and a lawyer? The answer is not a joke, and may soon be a matter of great urgency for attorneys, as the legal field attempts to adjust to disruptive technologies that are likely to permanently alter the way that law is practiced throughout the United States. The consequences for failing to adjust to technological disruption for any industry, as demonstrated in recent years by big-name, bankrupt companies, can be disastrous. Legal tools founds in the chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code are largely intended to assist debtors in reorganizing their business affairs, preserving value by shedding unprofitable business activities and redirecting resources to more profitable venues. However, these tools grow less effective as companies become more insolvent. Further, although law firms may file for bankruptcy like other businesses, they have historically struggled to reorganize due in large part to the ability and propensity of firm assets – the attorneys themselves – to simply leave the company. Accordingly, law firms, faced with an array of new and disruptive technologies, should draw on the lessons of prior industry failures and make adjustments swiftly, before finding themselves “technically” bankruptcy.

Keywords: bankruptcy, technology

Suggested Citation

Gotberg, Brook and Gotberg, Brook, Technically Bankrupt (March 29, 2017). University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-15, Available at SSRN: or

Brook Gotberg (Contact Author)

University of Missouri School of Law ( email )

Missouri Avenue & Conley Avenue
Columbia, MO MO 65211
United States

BYU Law School ( email )

430 JRCB
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
United States

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