Approximately 80,000 businesses fail each year in the United States. This Article presents an original empirical study that surveys more than 400 business restructuring professionals. The study focuses on a critical factor that arguably contributes to these failures—the conduct of boards of directors and management. Anecdotal evidence suggests that management of distressed companies often bury their heads in the sand until it is too late to remedy the companies’ problems, a phenomenon commonly called “ostrich syndrome.” The data confirm this behavior, shows a prevalent use of loss framing, and suggest trends consistent with prospect theory. This Article draws on both the data and behavioral economics to examine the genesis and contours of this problem. It then discusses potential changes to applicable law and introduces a new “meet and confer” process to encourage timely restructuring negotiations. The meet and confer process is designed to promote meaningful changes in management conduct and to facilitate more “successful failures.” Policymakers should adopt regulations that foster this mentality, rather than rewarding fear or ignorance in the face of failure.
September 2016, Vol. 68, No. 5
Leslie C. Levin, Lawyers Going Bare and Clients Going Blind
Aya Gruber, Amy J. Cohen, & Kate Mogulescu, Penal Welfare and the New Human Trafficking Intervention Courts
Caprice Roberts, Supreme Disgorgement
Anthony Jose Sirven, Undue Process: A Father's Proprietary Interest in an Embryo and Its Clash with Casey
Maris Snell, Section 875C: Not for All Intents and Purposes