Wake Forest Law Helps Small Businesses

Outside of a United States Bankruptcy Court

(Winston-Salem, N.C., September 8, 2020) — Small businesses face unparalleled hardships in the current economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of them may even face bankruptcy for the first time.

Wake Forest University School of Law has partnered with Thomson Reuters to offer “Bankruptcy and Small Business: a Practical Course for Newcomers,” a free 15-hour course designed to educate small business owners facing bankruptcy and the legal and financial advisors who guide them.

“These are hard times. People are facing a lot of financial insecurity and no one more than the small businesses all around us,” said Dean Jane Aiken of Wake Forest Law. “Small businesses make up almost half of America’s economic activity. They need advisors. They need lawyers who know where to go to get the kind of help that will make a difference.”Bankruptcy Professor Steve Nickles organized the course as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences on small businesses.

“Dean Aiken and our School of Law board of visitors realized that a wide range of small businesses in huge numbers would be seriously threatened by financial collapse,” Professor Nickles said. “Recent reports suggest that 90 percent of small businesses are hurting, and another 35 percent won’t last more than three months in current conditions.”

The American Bankruptcy Institute, a trade group representing bankruptcy law professionals, expects the number of small businesses filing for bankruptcy this year could increase by 36 percent over last year, as reported in Bloomberg.

“Typically when a small business files bankruptcy, the owners file too,” Professor Nickles said. “While they have good lawyers and accountants, their advisors may not be experienced in filing bankruptcy. So they need to understand what bankruptcy is and what it can offer their clients.”

Nickles serves as the course organizer and moderator. He credits the 20 accomplished judges and practicing lawyers who serve as the online teachers for their willingness to share their bankruptcy expertise.

Learn more about the course at wfu.law/HelpingSmall

Media contact: Stephanie Skordas at skordas@wfu.edu or 336-758-5719