Calling Your Bankruptcy Lawyer

03 Oct Calling Your Bankruptcy Lawyer

The first step to getting bankruptcy advice is usually calling a bankruptcy lawyer. Most lawyers direct their staff to obtain basic information about the prospective client’s financial situation. Things like:

  • How much is your annual household income?
  • Are you married?
  • How much credit card debt do you have?
  • Do you have car payments and, if so, in what amounts?
  • Are you current on your mortgage and car payments?
  • Have you ever filed bankruptcy before? (Some have and some are actually represented by other lawyers!)

And there are others. The idea is that the lawyer needs basic information to see (1) whether it even makes sense for the client to meet the lawyer for a consultation (maybe the particular problem can’t be solved by bankruptcy), (2) whether the lawyer handles the type of bankruptcy the client does need (for example, some attorneys don’t do Chapter 13 cases and maybe that’s what is needed), and (3) a general overview about the case.

So don’t give the staff member grief when you call

I’m amazed at the people who call my office who advise me (through my assistants) that “he doesn’t need to know that” or that “my wife’s information isn’t necessary because she’s not filing.” Ask yourself this: who’s in a better position to know what information is needed, you or your lawyer? The reason you’re calling a bankruptcy lawyer is because you need financial help with your debts and because you don’t know how to practice bankruptcy law. Treat your lawyer as your financial doctor and give him the information he requests. Consultations are confidential–even from your spouse–so don’t be afraid to tell your lawyer everything.

Not telling your bankruptcy lawyer means something…

In my view this means you’re running your own program and probably won’t follow my instructions or advice. You’ll be a difficult client and put stress on me and my office that really isn’t worth the small fee we’ll generate on your case. And I believe any experienced bankruptcy lawyer feels the same way.

You got yourself into this mess. Now give your bankruptcy lawyer the information he needs to get you out of it.

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Russell A. DeMott is a Charleston, South Carolina bankruptcy lawyer who represents consumer debtors in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. He is the author of the Charleston Bankruptcy Blog. He is also a member of the South Carolina Bankruptcy Blog. He files bankruptcy cases for clients in the Charleston, South Carolina division, which runs from Myrtle Beach to Beaufort. The DeMott Law Firm also represents clients in foreclosure defense and mortgage modification. You can also connect with Russ on Google Plus Russell DeMott. Russ can be contacted directly at (843) 695-0830 or by email at
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