I handle all of the marketing and education for my firm.  Part of that involves knowing the bankruptcy filing numbers in New York City.  Every few months I pore over filing statistics with an eye on how outside trends are impacting our clients and the court system.

For the January – May 2012 period, things are looking … well, odd.  And things don’t look like they’re going to change any time soon.

In May 2012 there were 34 Chapter 13 cases and 390 Chapter 7 cases filed in the Manhattan division of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.  Those figures are down 38% for Chapter 13 cases and down 21% for the same month in 2011.

Looking at the entire 5-month period, we’re down 27% in Chapter 13 filings and about 17% in Chapter 7 filings.  At the same time, unemployment stood at 8.8% in New York City in April 2012 as opposed to 8.4% in April 2011.

So we’ve got unemployment holding pretty steady and bankruptcy filings down.  Perhaps people just don’t have the money to file, or they’ve given up hope.

As we head into the summer, my firm remains busy with more complex bankruptcy cases for people with more difficult issues to solve.  My concern is that those who are struggling at the outer boundaries of the economy either can’t afford help or simply don’t know it exists.

If you’re a lawyer reading this, what’s your take?  If you’re someone looking to file for bankruptcy, what’s standing in your way?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

Image credit:   Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com