Kentucky Bankruptcy Law

Counsel with Care

Is this bragging or just informative?

I had a voice-mail this morning that caught my attention (more than usual that is). It was from a woman who had consulted with me several months ago. In the voice-mail she confessed that she had filed the bankruptcy with another attorney. I was tempted to erase the message and move on with my day. After all, I typically spend about an hour on my initial consults without charging and now this person wanted more of my limited time.

However, I decided to take the high road on the matter and I called her. As it turns out, she went with another attorney who charged less to file her bankruptcy. Now, though, when she was having trouble with her home lender the attorney she chose would not respond to her calls and emails. I figured it was impolite to ask exactly how much less she paid for her bankruptcy, but she readily acknowledged that she wished she had paid a little bit more and gone with me.

Her dilemma was that she was going through a divorce and the home lender would not talk to her even though she is on both the deed and the mortgage to the house. I explained that there are three documents involved with a home loan and the one she was not aware of was the promissory note. Even though she was on the deed and the mortgage, the promissory note was the one that actually created the loan and she likely was not a signatory to that document. That would be the only explanation for what she was describing.

So, after fifteen plus minutes she thanked me and told me I was the first person she had talked to who could explain what was going on. I gave her some options for how this scenario would play out in the divorce and encouraged her to stay with her current divorce attorney. For payment of my time, I asked her to recommend me to others and go ahead and explain that I might cost a tad more, but I would be worth it.

I routinely tell people in my consultations that if they call around they will find attorneys who charge $100 or even $200 less for a Chapter 7 filing. I also explain that if they price shop, they need to also be asking what they get for that price. When I file a Chapter 7 for someone, I figure I am in it through the *whole process and I make it my business for the bankruptcy to go as smoothly as possible. If that costs $100 or so more, I figure it is nothing in comparison to the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt I am helping them get a fresh start from.

So, is this bragging? Perhaps. However, they only way I can compete when a potential client is looking for a rock bottom price for a Chapter 7 is to give information – if I matched prices and still did the same quality of work I would be filing bankruptcy for myself. My hope is that many potential clients will be smart purchasers of legal services and be able to compare services offered as well as price.

* There are unusual circumstances that I explain in advance where a contested matter or adversary proceeding might arise and require additional fees, but I do a good job of being thorough and point those out when there is a risk of them.

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July 16, 2013 - Posted by | attorney fees, Bankruptcy, Chapter 7, Foreclosure, Home Loan Modification | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. We seem to be facing the same thing in our practice. We hope as well that clients will see the value in hiring a more experienced practitioner. I always try to emphasize to potential clients that bankruptcy, line a railroad line, has two important “tracks” … the “track” one of discharging debt but also, and importantly, the “track” two of keeping what assets you have. Often times, it seems, the more experienced bankruptcy practitioners are the ones better at keeping a client out of trouble on “track” two !

    Comment by John Rogers | July 16, 2013 | Reply


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