Behind The Metrics: Closed Cases, Not Just New Filings, Are Key To Spotting Bankruptcy Trends

While new filings tend to be the main indicator of what’s happening in the bankruptcy market, they can be deceiving -- there are multiple other factors to consider depending upon your business. While large law firms are seeking new filing trends to identify where to focus marketing efforts or where they should reduce or increase staff, loan servicers want to know the delta between the number of new monthly bankruptcy filings and the number of cases that are closing each month. Not since 2010 have there been more new filings in a year than cases that were closed (see Graph 1). And it’s trending that way again in 2022, as there have been 58,629 more cases closed than were opened through September (see Graph 2). As new filing trends start to increase, servicers won’t feel the impact until there are more new cases opening than cases are closing.

Graph 1

Graph 2

Other trends of business interest are the average length of time it takes for a case to close, discharge or dismiss, as it varies greatly by state, court, lawyer, law firm, trustee and judge as well as their case count volumes. A few examples include:

  • The average number of days for chapter 13 cases that have closed in 2022 by state range from 1,566 to 977 days. The discharges range from 1,857 to 1,327 days and the dismissed cases range from 935 to 183 days.
  • The average number of days for chapter 7 cases that have closed in 2022 by court range from 1,187 to 163 days. The discharges range from 349 to 101 days and the dismissed range from 668 to 13 days.
  • The highest number of 2022 new cases assigned to a judge through September is 2,050. The average is 599.
  • The highest number of 2022 new cases assigned to a trustee through September is 3,195. The average is 255.
  • The attorney with the greatest number of new cases filed in 2022 is 2,228.
  • The law firm with the greatest number of new cases filed in 2022 is 5,003.
  • There have been 18,502 Pro SE new cases in 2022.

Therefore, there is far more value in bankruptcy metrics to businesses than just new filing trends. Stakeholder (lawyer, law firm, trustee and judge) caseloads, case disposition durations, geography differences, court differences, chapter differences, commercial and individual metrics can each provide unique value depending upon your business.

With Epiq’s deep trove of bankruptcy data now available through its Bankruptcy Analytics subscription service, businesses with interest in bankruptcy metrics and trends can now access new insights previously unavailable for customers to control the variables they care about most.  

Gregg Morin is vice president, business development and revenue for Epiq Bankruptcy’s AACER division. He can be reached at

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