THE O'Donnell case shows lenders may have more to fear from once-wealthy legal professionals -- who understand bankruptcy rules well -- than from developers.
The last few years have often ended in defeat for developers who tried to take on the banks. Liam Carroll, Sean Dunne and Bernard McNamara have all endured high profile visits to the courts which ended in victories for their creditors.
The new wave of legal eagles looking for protection may prove a tougher challenge for bankers, as the O'Donnell case suggests. It's hard not to believe that Bank of Ireland and even the redoubtable Justice Peter Kelly were caught off guard by yesterday's bankruptcy move.
The deftness of the timing, and confusion over just who owns parts of the O'Donnell property empire are a sign of how big a challenge banks face if they want to take on skilled members of the legal confraternity.
The O'Donnells only revealed their move to be declared bankrupt in the UK during a routine hearing. But the news turned the hearing on its head.