Tag Archives: Bankruptcy Lawyers

How to Choose a Reputable Bankruptcy Attorney in the Bay Area?


It is actually very simple to find a reputable bankruptcy attorney in the Bay Area if you take the time. We truly want our prospective clients to speak with other attorneys, preferably before they speak with us. The best thing someone can do for us is speak to other bankruptcy attorneys to find out firsthand how superior our services are from start to finish. If you follow the approach below we are confident you will find the right law firm and person to represent you, even if it is not us. Although, the best thing to do is obtain a referral from a friend, colleague or family member. We know this is a difficult thing to discuss sometimes, but going through this process with an attorney that has already done right by someone you know is priceless.

Take the time to choose a reputable bankruptcy attorney in the Bay Area.

Take the time to choose a reputable bankruptcy attorney in the Bay Area.

Talk to at least three different bankruptcy attorneys that have an office around where you live or work.

It is important to take the time to meet with at least three different law firms. How you are treated when you call and at the initial consultation will be a sign as to what is to come. If your initial consultation is not with an attorney run away. Some firms use legal assistants or paralegals that are not authorized to practice law, give legal advice or answer your legal questions. This is ethically wrong and you deserve better. After speaking with one or more law firms you will understand what filing bankruptcy requires, what your options are and know what range of attorney fees is appropriate. You should receive a breakdown of the fees. How much are for the attorney, the filing fee, the required courses and credit report. If you receive a quote around $30 per course for the required course run away. The required course for any individual filing bankruptcy should not exceed $12.95 TOTAL! If a law firm is suggesting you have to pay them $100 or more for the required courses run away. They are pocketing processing fees and not telling you. Also stay clear of anyone trying to sell you on post-bankruptcy credit repair. It is a scam, just ask the FTC by going to http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0225-credit-repair-scams and read for yourself. Only time can heal your credit woes.

Do a Google or Other Search Engine Search of the Law Firm and Attorney Name

Do a Google search of the business name and the word complaints or reviews. Do a Google search of the bankruptcy lawyer name you met with and complaints or reviews. If you look at Yelp you also need to look at the “Filtered Reviews.” There is a link towards the bottom of the Yelp page that is gray. To get the whole story you need to look at the reviews that Yelp for whatever reason chose to filter out. If there is one bad review do not be concerned. If there are a number of bad reviews you know that it is not an isolated incident, but a pattern of poor service that you do not want to pay money for.

Now Here Are the Tough Questions to Ask

How many of your Chapter 7 cases did you have to convert to a case under Chapter 13 because the United States Trustee objected? You may not receive an honest answer to this question. I can tell you as of the writing of this article none of our Chapter 7 cases have had to be converted to Chapter 13 to save the case, but that could change. This questions targets whether the attorney can properly evaluate whether you qualify to file a Chapter 7 case, or should the case be filed as a Chapter 13 to begin with.

Do you enjoy what you do, if so why? If they do not enjoy it do not retain them. Surprisingly enough this question can tell you a lot about who you give your money to. If they are just doing a job and have no passion why do you want them to represent you? You will be surprised at the responses you get. You will know the right response when you receive it.

How long does it take you to respond to my phone calls or questions? This is a good question to ask because communication is important. We return all emails and phones calls within 24 hours. The point is to make the attorney give you some sort of response to rely on. If they do not respond to you timely in the future be sure to let them know what the represented to you before you retained their services.

Will I be able to speak with an attorney after I retain your services? Amazingly this is a good question to ask. Again, you may not receive an honest answer to this question. Read the complaints and reviews and you will read that a common complaint is they were never able to speak with an attorney and had no idea who the attorney was that showed up at the 341 meeting of the creditors to represent them. I see it all the time and it is shameful.

Who Are These Companies Filing Proofs of Claims in My Bankruptcy Case?


In certain bankruptcy cases the companies or people you owe money to are asked to file a proof of claim or should file a proof of claim in the hope of being paid a portion or all of the debt owed to them. If you filed a Chapter 7 case and all of your assets cannot be protected by bankruptcy exemptions then you have an asset Chapter 7 case. The Chapter 7 trustee assigned to the case will send out a notice of possible dividends, which means there is a possibility of creditors receiving money from the bankruptcy estate in the bankruptcy case. If you file a Chapter 13 case then your creditors should always file a proof of claim to be paid pursuant to the Chapter 13 plan filed. In Chapter 13 cases a creditor may not receive anything, but still should file a proof of claim just in case.

Bankruptcy Code Section 101(9)(A) defines a “creditor” as any “entity that has a claim against the debtor at the time of or before the order for relief.” A “claim” is a “right to payment, whether or not such right is reduced to judgment, liquidated, unliquidated, fixed, contingent, matured, unmatured, disputed, undisputed, legal, secured, or unsecured.” 11 U.S.C. § 101(4)(A). A “claim” also can be a “right to an equitable remedy for breach of performance if such breach gives rise to a right to payment.” 11 U.S.C. § 101(4)(B). See In re Beugen, 99 B.R. 961, 963 (9th Cir. B.A.P. 1989)

Who Are These Companies Filing Proofs of Claims in My Bankruptcy Case

Who Are These Companies Filing Proofs of Claims in My Bankruptcy Case

I Do Not Recognize Any of the Creditor Names

Once creditors start filing their proofs of claims you may not recognize any of the names of the creditors because the original debt was sold or transferred to a third party. This is normal and quite common. Each proof of claim is supposed to provide who the original creditor was and have the assignment or transfer documents attached to the proof of claim so that you can determine if you actually owe the money or not. If the claim does not provide proper documentation as to how it was calculated your bankruptcy attorney should object to the claim.

Debts Cannot be Purchased for Improper Purposes Though

See In re Beugen, 99 B.R. 961 (9th Cir. B.A.P. 1989), aff’d, 930 F.2d 27 (9th Cir. 1991) regarding a creditor purchasing claims for an improper purpose. In this case the creditor, Young, was more or less buying claims so that he could harass the debtors, the Beugens. Young apparently had no intention of just collecting on the underlying debts of the purchased claims. In this case Young originally filed an adversary complaint against the Beugens arguing fraud resulting from the sale of a salon from the Beugens to Young. The complaint was dismissed and then Young filed a motion to dismiss the Beugens’ corporate Chapter 11 and their personal Chapter 11 cases. The court agreed with Young and dismissed the corporate Chapter 11 but the court did not dismiss the personal Chapter 11 case. Eventually the court did convert the Beugens’ personal Chapter 11 case to a case under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. Here is where Young went wrong though. The first claim Young purchased was a claim totaling $753.38 from a small claims judgment. A balance of only $374.47 remained on this claim at the time Young purchased it from the original creditor. Young acquired another claim totaling $5,000. Both of these claims were solicited and assigned after the Beugens filed their Chapter 11 case. Young proceeded to file another adversary complaint objecting to the Beugens under the claims he had purchased. The Beugens bankruptcy lawyer argued that since Young was not the original holder of these two claims that Young did not have the right to object to the Beugens discharge under 727 of the Bankruptcy Code. The court in Beugen provides in part that “the right to object to a debtors discharge is not a marketable commodity which may be purchased by one party from another in order to inflict punishment and discomfort upon a debtor.”

Purchasing a claim is perfectly normal and acceptable if the underlying motivation is to seek payment of the claim. If a claim is purchased for other purposes such as objecting to the discharge of the debtor a party should think twice before proceeding. Mr. Young was ordered to pay the attorney fees and double costs of the Beugens pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 38. A very expensive mistake.