Monthly Archives: March 2014

Choosing-a-Bankruptcy-Attorney

That’s it, you’re done. After struggling to pay your debts, you’re ready to consider bankruptcy. It’s time to contact a bankruptcy lawyer, but which one? How do you know where to look?  Many advertise on TV and radio, others on billboards and bus stops. They seem nice, have a perky smile, and claim to be there to help you, but you can’t tell for sure. Asking friends for a recommendation is a rather awkward proposition. A discrete online search, maybe?

Bankruptcy Attorney holding credit cards in handFinding the Best Solutions to Your Situation Will Depend on How Well Your Attorney Understands All of the Complexities of the Bankruptcy Code

(image courtesy www.freefoto.com)

Filing for bankruptcy is a serious step, requiring excellent advice and the right representation. In 2005 the Bankruptcy Code was rewritten into what now is often referred to as

“Unquestionably, [the] most poorly written piece of legislation that I or anyone else has ever seen,” – U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Keith M. Lundin, “No one has ever seen a piece of garbage like this,” he adds. “There’s going to be the most fantastic anarchy in bankruptcy courts for years.”

This has resulted in a very highly specialized area of the law which is best left to knowledgeable practitioners. Time and again I watch as attorneys inadequately represent their clients. Giving their client poor advice or causing the client to lose their property.

Beware the Bankruptcy Mill

Bankruptcy mills have began to crop up in Kansas City. Bankruptcy mill attorney ads are all over television.  They bring you in, and churn your chapter 7 or chapter 13 case through.  Are your personal finances unique?  Are they different from your neighbor?  That is not how the bankruptcy mill views you.

The bankruptcy mill is interested in you for what you can do for them. Their job is to crank out the maximum number of cases each month and often do so with as little specialized attention as possible. Often times these firms push their attorneys to file a minimum number of cases each month, or to maintain a minimum closing ratio. I have heard horror stories from clients with improperly filed bankruptcies from these bankruptcy mills. Stories ranging from clients whose debts are deemed non dischargeable due to the attorney’s inadequate litigation skills, to the Debtor who has lost their home due to the attorney’s inattention to detail.

Signs That You are Dealing With a Bankruptcy Mill

  • The firm boasts about how many cases it files  While the firm may claim this is an indication of success, it is the most obvious statement that you are just another number to them. 

  • If you call and can’t speak to an attorney – When your first interaction with a firm is with a staff member, and there is no attorney willing to discuss your personal circumstances, this is an indication of future interactions with the firm. The bankruptcy mill employs plenty of people to answer their phones, however none of them are attorneys.

  • Your attorney doesn’t attend your creditor’s meeting – If you are dealing with a bankruptcy mill, it is likely that you already know by this point. Your fears will be further realized when the person you thought was your attorney, is in fact not the person who represents you at your meeting.

  • The only option you’re told about is to file bankruptcy – Often times, a client may come to see me and they have more attractive options other than bankruptcy. A good bankruptcy attorney knows all the alternative options and will share them with you.

  • High turnover of attorneys and staff members – If you notice your bankruptcy firm often has new employees this should be a giant red flag. A bankruptcy mill often treats its employees just like its clients; just another number. If the firm treats its employees poorly, how do you think they treat their clients?

You don’t have to settle for such impersonal and non-attentive treatment from your bankruptcy lawyer. There are firms out there where experienced bankruptcy attorneys take their time meeting with you, evaluating your case, protecting your assets, and returning your calls promptly. I know this because Reneau & Shernaman is one of those law firms.

Bankruptcy is a stressful event for most people and your attorney should seek to lessen that stress by answering your questions quickly and being available throughout the process. Please contact us at 816-287-8080 for the immediate and personal attention you deserve. Choosing-a-bankruptcy-attorney.