By Larry Karandreas Type in the words “Phoenix Bankruptcy Attorney” in your favorite search engine and you will find a plethora of paid ad listings using terms such as “cheap” or “low fees” in order to entice you to click. Sometimes you may even see listings showing actual fee quotes to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy such as “$500.00,” “$699.00″ or even “$0.00 down to file” (the “$0.00 down to file is a whole different animal and will be the subject of a another blog article). While you may not need to spend Cadillac prices for the use of a Phoenix Bankruptcy Attorney, is paying Yugo prices really worth the risk? In my opinion, the answer is an emphatic “NO.”
In theory, as well as in practice, the average Chapter 7 Bankruptcy should take at least five hours of attorney time to complete your bankruptcy preparation and meeting of creditors. The representation should include: an initial meeting and consultation with a client, document review and legal analysis, client counseling, creditor contact, a signing appointment to go over all documents to be signed and filed, as well as attendance at the meeting of creditors and communications with your chapter 7 trustee. When these $500.00 or $699.00 law firms file 50 to 100 cases a month, the question that begs to be answered is how can a law firm commit to the hours necessary to complete a client’s case and still remain in business? The answer is simple, you increase your client base and reduce the amount of time you spend with that client base and become a “mill” firm.
In a recent case out of a Texas Bankruptcy Court, In re Bradley, the bankruptcy court defined a “mill” firm as “a firm whose business model is dependant upon bringing a large volume of consumer debtor clients while simultaneously minimizing expenses by having as few attorneys possible, who are paid extremely low salaries.” In re Bradley, at footnote 33. Simply put, the only way a law firm can charge you $500.00 or $699.00 to file your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and stay in business is to pay the least amount that it can to its attorneys and spend the least amount of time on a client’s case, or in the case of a solo lawyer mill firm, spend the least amount of time on your case. The question you have to ask yourself is why hire a lawyer who does not want to spend the time necessary to guide you through the bankruptcy process?
Filing a bankruptcy is not an easy task for the inexperienced. Protecting your bankruptcy rights takes experience, knowledge, dedication and time, time that the so-called mill firms cannot afford to devote. When all that you own is at issue, when your ability to properly eliminate your debt is at risk, hiring a lawyer whose main concern is volume and less time spent on your case in order to maximize his/her profitability is a problem waiting to happen.
There are several so-called mill firms in Arizona who are still in business, and for some people, people who literally have nothing to lose, these mill firms are a risk that they are willing to take. For the rest of you, take the time to find an Experienced Phoenix Bankruptcy Attorney who will, for a fair price, spend the necessary time to make sure your bankruptcy is filed correctly. You may not need to find a “Cadillac” attorney to prepare your case, but a reasonably priced attorney, who will spend the necessary time you deserve, will make sure that you arrive at your ultimate destination, a fresh start.
This blog article was created by Larry P. Karandreas, Esq., a Phoenix Bankruptcy Attorney, on behalf of the Law Offices of Larry P. Karandreas, P.L.L.C., A Lawyer Who Cares™, which concentrates its practice of law to Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and in Debt Negotiation. If you live in or near Phoenix, Glendale, Surprise, Peoria or the Scottsdale, Arizona areas and want legal advice or help – please visit the firm website for more information.