Bankruptcy Week: The State of Bankruptcy and the Economy with Janine Sickmeyer


Bankruptcy Week’s opening keynote address was given by Janine Sickmeyer, Founder and Managing Director of NextChapter. Janine touched on the importance of bankruptcy law in today’s uncertain economic climate, and how attorneys can help distressed individuals and businesses find financial relief.


But first, Janine gave an overview of her background and the experiences that led her to found NextChapter. Her journey began in 2008 when she was working as a paralegal in mortgages and foreclosures and eventually at a bankruptcy law firm, where she felt she could better help clients in need.


Janine started working as a virtual paralegal on the side and left her full-time gig to start the Paralegal Team, her first company. She recognized how necessary a better bankruptcy software was for the industry, and in 2013, she started creating mockups for new software that became NextChapter.


After Janine taught herself how to code, found developers, and earned capital, NextChapter was finally launched as the first-ever cloud-based bankruptcy software. Since 2016, NextChapter has grown to a 25-employee company with more than 6,000 users and was recently acquired by Fastcase.


Janine’s talk then shifted to the state of bankruptcies and the economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the U.S. economic landscape in such a short amount of time. Workers have been laid off and businesses have been closing in record numbers:

  • 3 million people are not paying their mortgage
  • 1 in 4 (24%) of small businesses have shut down
  • 23 million people have filed for unemployment


This economic crisis means that more people will be filing for bankruptcy, especially as forbearance periods come to an end. The last economic recession saw an all-time high of bankruptcy filings, growing over 74%, and didn’t decline for years.


To help with the growing need for bankruptcy filings, attorneys can step in and help those in need to find financial relief. Bankruptcy Week was created so that attorneys new to this law area can connect with professionals in the field, gaining valuable insights and resources. Attorneys and experts in legal tech join together to discuss bankruptcy basics, Chapter 13 cases, bifurcated bankruptcies, and marketing for law firms.


Don’t forget to register for free for Bankruptcy Week if you haven't already. Attend insightful sessions from experts in legal and tech in this all-virtual bankruptcy summit by visiting this our company's Livestorm page. You can also watch session replays on NextChapter's youtube channel.