30 Nov Does Your Bankruptcy Attorney Walk the Talk?
Does your bankruptcy attorney have what it takes to get your case through the bankruptcy court? Can he or she walk the talk? Does your bankruptcy attorney have the experience and proven results to make a commitment to you, one that you can count on?
Let’s face it, we have all seen people at networking events, social events, or heard the guys on the radio promising “pennies on the dollar”, in essence, making promises that their product or service will deliver results that they obviously cannot produce. Unfortunately, I have heard of similar snake oil salesmen in the bankruptcy world.
So, how does a consumer protect themselves from inexperienced bankruptcy counsel? Do your homework! Start with a Google Search. That will help you start your research. Look at the bankruptcy attorney’s website, and take your time reviewing the information provided. Does it focus on bankruptcy law? Look for articles or blogs that the bankruptcy attorney has written? Are there any cases published with the Attorney as the Attorney of Record? DO NOT RELY PURELY ON AN ADVERTISEMENT.
If you see an advertisement, read it twice. What message is the bankruptcy attorney sending to you? Is the message: “Yes, I do bankruptcy, family law, estate planning and civil litigation.” Is it really possible for a bankruptcy attorney to do all of these things? Well, I am here to tell you that it’s not possible at all. The practice of bankruptcy law is not for the weary. Bankruptcy law is for warriors. It is for men and women who like to wake up and attack. Why, because bankruptcy clients need and deserve that type of commitment from their counsel.
If you hire a professional organizer, you want them to be impeccably neat and their office better be spotless. If you want to hire a wellness coach and they are overweight, you may want to run the other way. What about a car detailer who shows up in a dirty car? Do you see where I am going with this? A fancy ad or someone who buys a good placement on Google may not be the bankruptcy attorney that you need.
I’m not here to bash sole bankruptcy practitioners, not at all. I know many attorneys who are sole practitioners and handle more than one area of practice, but not four? However, bankruptcy is a special breed because it encompasses consumer law, contracts, real estate, family law, tax, etc. Either you are all in or you are not. So, ask your attorney: “Are you all in?” Their response will be: Yes, I am all in. Your follow up to this question will surprise the attorney.
Ask your attorney:
How many bankruptcy cases have you filed in the last 6 months?
How many contested matters have you been involved in the last 6 months? If so, can you provide a list of the cases?
How many adversary proceedings have you filed in the last 6 months? If so, can you provide a list of the cases?
How many adversary proceedings have you defended in the last 6 months? If so, can you provide a list of the cases?
Do you sue creditors who violate the automatic stay? If so, can you provide a list of the cases?
Do you sue creditors who violate the discharge injunction? If so, can you provide a list of the cases?
The answer to these questions will tell you if they are all in -I promise.
I know bankruptcy attorneys who have never filed an adversary proceeding. Never. I ask myself how can this be? Are the creditors only picking on my bankruptcy clients? Do the creditors make a conscious effort to violate the discharge injunction in only my cases? Or, do the creditors pick on everyone’s clients, and only several attorney’s take action to protect their bankruptcy clients. These attorneys walk the talk.
What about when creditors sue debtors during their case? Does the attorney recommend settlement, or does the attorney recommend a trial?
Again: There are bankruptcy attorneys who walk the talk, and of course, there are the bankruptcy attorneys who just Talk. Which one do you want representing you?
Photo Credit: office.microsoft.com
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