CHOOSING YOUR ATTORNEY IN KANSAS
Not All Bankruptcy Attorneys are Created Equal
Sometime in the future, or perhaps right now as you read this article, you may think to yourself “That’s it. I’m done with this staggering debt.” After some serious thought, Bankruptcy is starting to sound like a real possibility for you.
The next step is to contact a bankruptcy lawyer, but which one? How do you know where to look? Many advertise on TV and radio while others do so on billboards and at bus stops. They seem nice, have a warm smile, and claim to be there to help you. Asking friends for a recommendation can be an awkward proposition. A discreet online search, maybe? Yet, you find yourself thinking that you can’t tell for sure if the attorney you come across will be there to truly help you.
Filing for bankruptcy is a serious step, requiring excellent advice and the right representation. In 2005 the Bankruptcy Code was rewritten by the The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) (Pub.L. 109–8, 119 Stat. 23, enacted April 20, 2005)—which is a legislative act that made several significant changes to the United States Bankruptcy Code.
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 highly specialized area of the law which is best left to knowledgeable practitioners. Time and again our office has watched as other attorneys at other law firms inadequately represent their clients. Giving their client poor advice or causing the client to lose their property. That being said, know that there is a difference between an attorney who practices in a specialized area of law and one who exclusively practices in specialized area of law. When it comes to Bankruptcy, a common pitfall for someone looking for help with their Debts is to hire a Bankruptcy Mill.
Beware the Bankruptcy Mill
There are bankruptcy mills throughout the greater Kansas City Area. A Bankruptcy Mill brings you in, and churns your case through. Are your personal finances unique? Are they different from your neighbor? These questions do no matter to a bankruptcy mill. To a Bankruptcy mill you are cookie dough, shoved through a cookie cutter, with little or no care.
A bankruptcy mill is interested in you ONLY 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 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.
Choosing an attorney to represent you in one of your most difficult times is a tough decision. You may not choose us to represent you. If nothing else it is my hope that you walk away today being wary of the dreaded Bankruptcy Mill.
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.
· 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. You may still choose bankruptcy in the end, however you are given options to choose from.
· 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 attorney. There are firms out there where experienced bankruptcy attorneys take their time meeting with you, evaluating your case, and protecting your assets. I know they exist because RS Law is one of them.
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.