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Interesting 341....

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  • Interesting 341....

    I walked in to my 341 meeting and there was 8 people in the waiting room. One lady was missing her top teeth and had a tiny dog in her purse. Later I found out she was an attorney and had represented a few clients earlier that morning. So I wait, an attorney goes in with a client, they come out 20 minutes later and go over all the requirements the trustee needed (taxes, account balances, etc.). This happens again, same attorney different client. And again. I was so glad I didn't hire him.

    A third attorney goes in with a client, comes out with the same needed info. And again. And her last client came out in tears. The attorneys then sit down and discuss how the Pro Se filer (me) was going to have a hell of a time and that nobody should file without an attorney. I'm laughing to myself by now. So almost 3 hours later it's my turn; I'm a bit nervous, but know there's not much that can be done. I go in, my ducks all in a row, trustee asks me 6 or so questions. I answer each one yes or no with no detail unless he asked. 3 minutes later (no kidding!), I exit with a smile on my face and the attorneys look at me like I'm nuts. "Prepared" I tell them.

    And then I find out another person who had filed, was missing her attorney. He had forgotten about her. So glad I didn't pay that $1800!

  • #2
    There are many stories where 341 meetings do not go as smoothly with those represented by an attorney. A lot of, what we called, bankruptcy mills were notorious for having a different attorney show up at the 341 meeting and being ill-prepared. Even today, some smaller firms will have another attorney "stand-in" for them and will only then get a hold of the case. For an attorney to practice in a particular district and not know the Trustee's required document list is really unacceptable.

    That, however, is not the norm. Normally it is very smooth with experienced attorneys that have a staff to make sure the debtor has provided all the paperwork and that it was sent to the Trustee.

    Pro Se files have an advantage and a disadvantage. Many Pro Se debtors run into issues when their case becomes more complex than they imagined (unknown property, transfers, insider payments, wrong exemptions, etc). Pro Se debtors tend to be more diligent in their paperwork but generally only get in trouble with hearings, adversary proceedings, and other truly "technical" issues.

    Just imagine that for every one of us -- that are successful -- there are countless others that make material errors. There is a reason that the Trustees typically have the Pro Se debtors last on the calendar, as they expect issues.
    Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
    Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
    Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


    I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

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    • #3
      I was lucky at my 341. I watched as the people before me approached the trustee with their attorneys. All of them were missing documents or needed additional information. My attorney was prepared, we didn't need anything additional, and I ended up getting confirmed way earlier than scheduled. I thanked her after the meeting in the hallway, and she said it's a lot of work to get everything together, but that's what I am paying her for. For me, that $1,500 up front was well spent. Congrats on filing pro se and being so prepared!

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      • #4
        I thought the same thing, karibaa. Although there were several that went smoothly, I was surprised that there were some with attorneys who were not prepared. I'd be livid if I had paid for what they got (or I guess, didn't get!). I guess it underscores the necessity of doing your research if you're going the attorney route before you sign on with anyone.
        And, justbroke, that's why I was at the tail end!?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by kberly69 View Post
          And, justbroke, that's why I was at the tail end!?
          The Trustees will usually put all the Pro Se debtors in a group towards the end of the day because they expect that it will take more time. The reality is that attorneys seem to make the same mistakes (missing paperwork). However, when a debtor is represented and the attorney forgot to submit paperwork, the meeting is quickly continued rather than waste time. When it is a Pro Se debtor, I have seen the Trustee's office still try to hold the Meeting despite missing paperwork (and will still continue the meeting to a later date).

          Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
          Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
          Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


          I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

          Comment

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