Harrisburg, the capital of the state of Pennsylvania, is
hurting financially. The city of 49,000 faces $282 million in debt it has
guaranteed and has missed about $10 million in related payments this year. The
city now contemplates a bankruptcy filing in order to resolve its debt and
A few years ago the city seemed to be entering into a renaissance of sorts as
new shops and restaurants began to revitalize the downtown. Now the growth has
stopped as debt overwhelms the city where almost 25 percent of its residents
live below the poverty line.
The city may have to file a chapter 9 bankruptcy to resolve its financial
problems. But, filing a bankruptcy case is expensive and would take valuable
resources away from city projects and programs.
Cravath Swaine & Moore to the Rescue!
Five law firms pitched Harrisburg's city council to help the city through a
potential bankruptcy. Cravath
Swaine & Moore, one of most-respected New York City law firms and
bankruptcy department that bills at rates approaching $1,000 for some partners,
was chosen and has agreed to represent the city on a pro-bono basis. That means
the city will not have to pay for the services which could easily run into the
The law firm calls it representation "one of its most significant public
service commitments in years" but its significance may extend beyond its firm.
Hopefully, other law firms and corporations will continue this trend and
provide services to the needy. It is very encouraging that Cravath would take
on this representation on a pro-bono basis as it will be a great benefit not
only the city but to all of the citizens. On a smaller scale, Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP
provided an superb pro-bono benefit in allowing me to co-write The Road Out of Debt so anyone
struggling with personal financial problems could find help from both a
bankruptcy lawyer and a bankruptcy judge.
Many Americans are struggling with their financial problems. Cravath's
representation will ideally lead the way for more law firms and corporations to
lend a helping hand.
articles about consumer debt by Ted Connolly, co-author of The Road Out of Debt