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California Bar Certified Specialist in Bankruptcy Law

Cost, you get what you pay for so know what you are getting.

Unfortunately, you probably will not know what to expect from a Bankruptcy Attorney until you have completed your bankruptcy, and then it may be too late.  Fortunately, most attorneys who practice bankruptcy are professional, courteous and genuinely concerned about the client. 

"Court statistics show that a self-represented debtor is almost eight times more likely to have his or her Chapter 7 case dismissed than a debtor represented by counsel. "

30% of people filing bankruptcy do not use an attorney. Is this a good idea? Click here to see the Federal Court report on self-filers.

Bankruptcy, the 13 step process or why does it cost so much?

1.      Initial consultation; the Bankruptcy Attorney should be asking you a lot questions about your financial circumstance.   This may be the first phone call to your Bankruptcy Attorney.

2.       First meeting; your Bankruptcy Attorney should meet with you to explain the law of bankruptcy; in fact, the bankruptcy code requires that the Bankruptcy Attorney give you specific information at the beginning of the case.  By Federal Law you will need to sign a retainer agreement to proceed.

3.       Factual Interview, your Bankruptcy Attorney should gather facts through a structured interview.   He may do this at the first meeting. You will probably not  be able to answer everything in the first interview and you should anticipate an exhaustive  checklist of items you will need for the second meeting

4.       Second Meeting; you will give your Bankruptcy Attorney the documentation he requested and the Bankruptcy Attorney will provide you with your present credit report history, that you will verify.

5.       Bankruptcy tactics and strategies; from the initial consultation the Bankruptcy Attorney has been building an unique bankruptcy plan for you.  Based upon your information, your Bankruptcy Attorney will advise you on your unique plan.

6.       Bankruptcy case and petition preparation.  Your Bankruptcy Attorney will build your case based upon your information.  By this time your Bankruptcy Attorney has gotten to know you and your financial circumstances.

7.       Filing;  all filings in Federal Court are done electronically, by your Bankruptcy Attorney in person.  Filing a bankruptcy petition creates a “bankruptcy estate” and the court will assign a Trustee to administer this bankruptcy estate.  

8.       Meeting with the Trustee, about 30 days after you file you will meet with the Trustee assigned to administer your bankruptcy estate.  Your Bankruptcy Attorney should be at that meeting with you. 

9.       Post Petition issues; in most cases your Bankruptcy Attorney’s work is complete after the Trustee meeting. However, questions may come up in the trustee meeting that your Bankruptcy Attorney will need to respond to.

10.   Filing additional documents.  Although your Bankruptcy Attorney’s work is generally complete at the trustee meeting, the trustee may ask for additional information. 

11.   You are also required to file certification that you have completed the second and post petition Financial Management Course.  Generally your Bankruptcy Attorney takes care of this for you.

12.   Reaffirmation agreements, your secured lenders (car loans) will probably ask for a reaffirmation agreement if you want to keep your car(s).  Your Bankruptcy Attorney will explain this to you, guide you through the process and submit the agreement to the lender for you.  Some Bankruptcy Attorneys DO NOT do this, you should ask up front.

13.   You should always meet with and communicate with the Bankruptcy Attorney.  The Bankruptcy Attorney may use his office staff for routine data entry, etc., but you are hiring an Bankruptcy Attorney.  The Bankruptcy Attorney works for you.   Please notice that there are three words that appear in each of the first 12 points; “your Bankruptcy Attorney”.  It is not the paralegal, not the legal assistant, not some offshore document preparation service, IT IS THE BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY WHO SHOULD MEET WITH YOU, PREPARE YOUR CASE AND FOLLOW UP WITH THE TRUSTEE.