Any good professional does things you can’t see that make a difference in the outcome of their services. A good bankruptcy attorney is no different.
What You Don’t See Your Bankruptcy Attorney Do is Important
Much has been written about the importance of using a bankruptcy attorney if you’re filing a bankruptcy case. I’ve explained how it is critical to have someone who knows all the intricacies of the Bankruptcy Code, Bankruptcy Rules, Local Bankruptcy Rules, and how to apply them, and how to protect your assets by doing proper exemption analysis and planning.
See Dana Wilkerson’s article on this very point.
Cathy Moran also explains successful bankruptcy cases require more than just filling out forms.
It Matters How Your Bankruptcy Case is Presented
The above is all very important. But there’s another aspect to being a good experienced bankruptcy attorney, and that is how certain aspects of the case are presented to the court, the Trustee, and all other parties-in-interest.
This was driven home to me by a comment a client of mine made recently to me after their meeting with the Trustee in their Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
What Happened at a Recent 341(a) Meeting
At a recent Trustee’s meeting, my client and I sat listening to the Trustee examine several other debtors ahead of my client.
The Trustee was very detailed in her questioning, and was highlighting lots of errors in the petition and schedules filed by the other attorneys (and of those debtors not represented by attorneys). But even where everything was “in order”, and in cases less complicated than my client’s, the Trustee asked a lot of specific questions which would have, in my case, required a lot of explaining (and we were prepared for that).
But when my client’s turn came, the Trustee called the matter, asked a few questions identifying who my client was, and the standard other Trustee questions, and then said “thank you” and sent us on our merry little ways.
Why did this happen? Why did my client not get grilled about their numerous assets of “unknown” value, or other potential “red flag” items (which I won’t detail here).
My client wanted to know how his case passed through nearly without the batting of an eye by the Trustee. The answer is how it was presented.
Experience Counts: Bankruptcy is More Than Just Filling out Forms
A good bankruptcy attorney knows how to present their client’s case and they know that how things are described on the bankruptcy petition and schedules can make all the difference between success and failure in a case (and, at the very least, between hassle and less hassle). I am not in any way suggesting that required information be hidden or obfuscated. Just the opposite, in fact.
By providing more detail than was required, listed in the appropriate places on the bankruptcy papers and accompanied by explanations as to why a certain item was relevant or not, the Trustee had the necessary information to make their decision to not look any further at the potential issues in that case.
This is merely one small example of the difference an experienced bankruptcy lawyer can make in a case. It is important to choose wisely when selecting your attorney.
It makes a difference. The results can be, well, magical.
Photo by John Morton