Commercial lawyers do the deals that are not organic—in other words, they handle matters involving relationships among entities that have already been created. Companies make contracts as part of their business, and commercial lawyers deal with these. A lot of them involve financing, including bank financing. A commercial lawyer will do the deal if the company is buying a new set of equipment, or needs a loan (and virtually all businesses operate on credit, so this is constant work), or sells an airplane, or buys a building, or needs a form drafted for sales of goods, etc.
Bankruptcy lawyers not only represent clients who are bankrupt, but they largely represent creditors trying to get money out of the bankrupt company. They negotiate and document deals to reorganize companies in bankruptcy. They also work on deals and law suits where there is concern about bankruptcy. Many business lawyers consider Bankruptcy a basic, even a crucial, course. Bankruptcy is what you’re planning against when you do a deal. If someone goes bankrupt, the Bankruptcy Code kicks in and changes everything, including what the contracts say and what the deal is. If you do not know how bankruptcy law works, you cannot plan properly, even if you do not intend to practice bankruptcy law. There are two other important things you should know about Bankruptcy. First, you will really like the course, perhaps to your surprise. It is about how the law deals with one of the most basic problems of our society, and the subject is rife with social policy decisions. The politics can be sharp and interesting. It is also very practical and immediate, which adds further appeal. Second, if you practice in the area, you will become a member of a specialized bar. The lawyers know each other; they are sometimes on the same side of a bankruptcy and sometimes not. That means the lawyers have to play nicely together, and they do. Ironically, it is quite a pleasant area of practice. Also, its practitioners are devoted to the subject and tend to have a scholarly outlook at the same time that they have a pragmatic perspective on negotiating hard deals when there is not enough money.