Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need an attorney?

Many people file a bankruptcy pro se, or self-represented, with the assumption that they cannot afford to use an attorney. Some of those cases go by without a hitch. Other cases can become a nightmare for the pro se filer that even an attorney may not be able to remedy. Many people go to document preparers to help them with a bankruptcy. While it is possible that a document preparer can prepare a case for you, all that they can legally do is simply fill out forms; anything more and they are practicing law without a license. While a document preparer’s fees cannot exceed $200, the question you have to ask yourself is whether your case is simple enough (and you have little or no assets to lose) to be prepared without proper legal advice. Better yet, ask yourself the following: Would you rather see the dentist when your tooth aches or see his receptionist and hope she/he can help? Simply stated, sometimes you need to pay for a job well done by someone who will back his/her work. If a document preparer makes a mistake and you lose your car, you have lost your car. While you may have recourse by suing the document preparer his/her defense is simple: no legal advice was provided. All that was done was filling out forms to be filed. If a bankruptcy attorney makes a mistake, the attorney has a professional responsibility to correct the mistake or make sure you are given every benefit available to you by the bankruptcy code.

When most lawyers offer free initial consultations, there simply is no excuse not to obtain the opinion of a professional before you file a bankruptcy case under penalty of perjury that all documents filed are true and accurate. As there are so many good lawyers out there practicing law, and legal rates are so competitive, the real question you should be asking yourself is not whether you can afford a bankruptcy lawyer, but rather can you afford not to hire a lawyer?

Legal Awards
  • State Bar of Arizona
  • Seal of the Supreme Court of the United States
  • Arizona Consumer Bankruptcy Counsel
  • Seal of the Supreme Court of Arizona
  • Avvo Clients' Choice 2016 Chapter 13



How do you know you have found the right attorney?

As with everything in life, your choices come with some risk. While you will not be able to find a good attorney that will guarantee you success, there are ways to reduce the risks associated with filing a bankruptcy. Before you contact an attorney, contact the local bar association. In Phoenix, Arizona, the State Bar of Arizona is a great starting point. There you can find out if there are any complaints against an attorney, if the attorney has insurance, and how long that attorney has been in practice. You can find the Arizona State Bar Association online at www.azbar.org. For contact information, please visit the website or call (602) 252-4804. If outside of greater Phoenix and the Maricopa County call toll free at (866) 482-9227.

If you are satisfied with the particular attorney you have investigated, the next step would be to meet/speak with the attorney. Although some attorneys will require payment for their time, or limit the amount of time that they spend with you, I offer a free initial telephonic consultation to anyone interested in filing a bankruptcy or to discuss debt relief options. In speaking with an attorney ask about his/her experience, work ethic and how he/she handles clients’ cases. Many times you will not meet or speak with an attorney. The biggest complaint most clients have about their attorney is lack of communication. An attorney should clearly explain what he/she can and cannot do for you and you are entitled to be treated with respect and professionalism. In my Phoenix based office, unless you are dealing with a data entry issue, or secretarial issue, all communications, be it by phone, mail or email, will be with me, Larry Karandreas.

If you are not sure about the attorney you have met, or if the attorney has not bothered to meet with you, walk away. If the attorney or an assistant to the attorney pressure you to pay a retainer, do not pay one unless you are sure that this person, this firm, is right for you. Do not feel obligated to pay a retainer because the attorney or someone in his/her firm has spent some time with you. Many people feel remorse, as if they have been trapped into keeping an attorney once they pay a retainer. You should never feel trapped or stuck with your attorney because you paid a retainer. Even if the bankruptcy attorney states that a retainer is non-refundable, you may still be entitled to a refund under the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct. The Rules of Professional Conduct, E.R.1.5(d)(3) state that a “…client may nevertheless discharge the lawyer at any time and in that event may be entitled to a refund of all or part of the fee based upon the value of the representation pursuant to paragraph…” E.R.1.5(d)(3). You can find the Arizona Professional Rules of Ethics on-line at www.azbar.org/ethics/rulesofprofessionalconduct.

My policy is not to accept a retainer unless the client has returned the required notices and forms that need to be filled out. Even at that stage, if you change your mind and do not want to file, or you simply do not want to work with me or my offices, I will review the work done for you and, if you are entitled to a refund, a refund will be given to you. The last thing I want is a client feeling that they are stuck with me. All that will generate is unhappiness in both the client and myself.

What happens after the initial consultation if you decide to retain my firm?

After the initial consultation, I will ask if you want to fill out the paperwork that I need in order to prepare your petition for bankruptcy or assist you with other forms of debt relief. Once all the paperwork given to you is carefully filled out, you will then return the paperwork to my office in Phoenix, along with a retainer. The amount of the retainer will be discussed during your consultation. At that point your file is opened and I will conduct what I call an Initial Investigation. The purpose of that investigation is to determine whether the information discussed at your consultation is still relevant and applicable and as such we can proceed as previously discussed. Once I have completed my initial review of your paperwork, I will contact you to discuss my findings and confirm that you still want to proceed as per my advice. If at that point you do not like what I have to say, or have changed your mind, I will return the paperwork you have provided to me and, if you are entitled to one, I will refund the retainer paid or a portion thereof.

If you decide to proceed with the process, your file will go to data entry which is in charge of gathering and verifying information. When data entry is complete, your file will come to me for a petition review and analysis. If you are filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, your reorganization plan will then be finalized. I will then discuss my final findings with you and schedule a signing appointment where we meet and go over all the paperwork to be filed.

Can you refer creditors, collection agencies, and their attorneys to my offices?

The short answer to this is yes, but it depends. After discussing this issue with me, together we can decide if it is advisable to refer some or all creditors to my offices. More often than not, I advise my clients to refer creditors to my office in Phoenix.

He worked so closely with us in resolving a six-year Bankruptcy Case. We would highly recommend Mr. Karandreas for any and all of your Bankruptcy needs.
Chris & Rusty

What Makes Larry Karandreas Different?

  • A Bankruptcy Lawyer Who Cares
    With an over 90% success rate, Attorney Larry Karandreas takes your case seriously. He personally handles all client correspondence, never overbooks his schedule, and makes sure every client receives his full attention.
  • Limited Caseload to Ensure Personalized Attention
    Attorney Karandreas ensures that his caseload is not overloaded in order to provide top-quality care and attention to each of his clients.
  • Little to No Money Down on Bankruptcy Filings
    We offer as low as $0 down on Ch. 13 filings and as low as $700 on Ch. 7 filings for qualifying cases.
  • Nearly 30 Years of Bankruptcy Experience
    Although Attorney Larry Karandreas has done other areas of law, he is focused on providing top quality bankruptcy services because he gets to help people with particularly challenging cases.

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