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Should I hire an Attorney or File myself (Pro Se)?

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  • #46
    as_bk_home, I removed your website link in your post above as it is a violation of our forum rules since it was done with the intent of directing members to a specific bk lawyer site without prior permission from our forum administrator. Also it is against our forum rules to post to old, inactive threads like this one. Please do not repeat these forum violations in the future or you may lose the right to post here in the forums.

    Members, I am closing this thread to further posts.
    I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice nor a statement of the law - only a lawyer can provide those.

    06/01/06 - Filed Ch 13
    06/28/06 - 341 Meeting
    07/18/06 - Confirmation Hearing - not confirmed, 3 objections
    10/05/06 - Hearing to resolve 2 trustee objections
    01/24/07 - Judge dismisses mortgage company objection
    09/27/07 - Confirmed at last!
    06/10/11 - Trustee confirms all payments made
    08/10/11 - DISCHARGED !

    10/02/11 - CASE CLOSED
    Countdown: 60 months paid, 0 months to go

    Comment


    • #47
      I filed pro se Chap 7 on a debt load of $22,000. It was a simple Bankruptcy with no real estate property involved. The paperwork is massive if you are not used to paperwork, but not impossible. A little over 20 sheets of forms involved.
      My primary advice would be to check with your District Bankruptcy Court online. Oregon's has free forms to download with information on which forms to use for which chapter. Also form requirements differ from district to district. Oregon has local form requirements. Check your District's requirements and follow them to the letter.
      Fill out all the forms prior to filing. Once you file the clock starts ticking on all deadlines. You will will receive a letter from your Trustee. Follow their instructions. Some of the Instructions seem confusing. I found it helpful to make a checklist so I kept on track and didn't overlook anything.
      At the Meeting of the Creditors one of the two couples ahead of us didn't follow instructions and get to come back and do it again in two weeks. The other couple didn't bring a statement and had to mail it in within 10 days which means their case is delayed as long as 10 days. Ours went fine with no delays.
      In both cases their attorneys sat at the table and said nothing looking very bored. You can pay them $$$ if you want for a simple case, but my advice would be do it yourself. If your case is not Chap 7, or it is and complex then I would advise getting an attorney. You will still fill out a lot of pre paper work, but they will type final copies for the court, and follow proper protocol. Good Luck
      Last edited by Ravenleader; 07-10-2007, 10:48 AM. Reason: I didn't realize the thread was discontinued. Sorry.
      Filed Pro Se June 5th 2007
      Creditors Meeting July 9th, 2007
      Discharge Hearing Because of Reaffirmation Agreement Oct 26th.
      Final Discharge Oct 31st 2007

      Comment


      • #48
        In case anyone is still following this thread, I'll post my experience so far.

        I consulted with an attorney who immediately asked me why I wasn't filing myself. I'm not an attorney, I'm not a paralegal but I have worked in legal admin for 20 years, although I haven't ever worked in bankruptcy. The attorney told me he would charge me $1200 to file for me. Nice guy - kept telling me I could do it myself and if I got stuck to come see him and he'd just charge me by the hour for whatever questions I had.

        I bought myself a Chapter 7 "dummies" book and got started. I took my time, gathered all my documents and drafted all the paperwork. I did a lot of research online to make sure I was including everything required and then I filed....and waited for everything to be returned as incorrect!

        I learned how to access Pacer and sat back to watch what happened. I made a couple of small errors but they were easily corrected. I prepared for my 341 meeting and felt pretty confident going in thanks to all my preparation. It went well and now I'm waiting for my discharge.

        My case is/was a pretty simple one. I'm single, it was a no-asset case, I passed the means test and I don't own anything of any great value: no home, no expensive car, no collections, no jewelry. I have college-aged kids - there's no money left over for me to have anything of value.

        I think that if you are an organized person, are of average intelligence and not easily flustered by this whole process, then you can certainly do it yourself. It's a lot of paperwork and you need to keep on top of it. You don't want anything falling through the cracks that would cause the Trustee to question you. I would absolutely go for a free consultation with an attorney before you make the decision, however. Go see a couple of them.
        Filed Ch. 7 1/25/08
        341 Meeting 3/5/08
        Declared No Asset 3/11/08
        Objection deadline 5/5/08

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by ProSe55 View Post
          In case anyone is still following this thread, I'll post my experience so far.

          I consulted with an attorney who immediately asked me why I wasn't filing myself. I'm not an attorney, I'm not a paralegal but I have worked in legal admin for 20 years, although I haven't ever worked in bankruptcy. The attorney told me he would charge me $1200 to file for me. Nice guy - kept telling me I could do it myself and if I got stuck to come see him and he'd just charge me by the hour for whatever questions I had.

          I bought myself a Chapter 7 "dummies" book and got started. I took my time, gathered all my documents and drafted all the paperwork. I did a lot of research online to make sure I was including everything required and then I filed....and waited for everything to be returned as incorrect!

          I learned how to access Pacer and sat back to watch what happened. I made a couple of small errors but they were easily corrected. I prepared for my 341 meeting and felt pretty confident going in thanks to all my preparation. It went well and now I'm waiting for my discharge.

          My case is/was a pretty simple one. I'm single, it was a no-asset case, I passed the means test and I don't own anything of any great value: no home, no expensive car, no collections, no jewelry. I have college-aged kids - there's no money left over for me to have anything of value.

          I think that if you are an organized person, are of average intelligence and not easily flustered by this whole process, then you can certainly do it yourself. It's a lot of paperwork and you need to keep on top of it. You don't want anything falling through the cracks that would cause the Trustee to question you. I would absolutely go for a free consultation with an attorney before you make the decision, however. Go see a couple of them.
          Congrats to you on doing it yourself.

          I've worked in legal too but I wasn't even going to try it myself. LOL

          Comment


          • #50
            i shopped around when someone quoted 2k. i found one for 1500 but ...he was rude... yet took care of it for me. id rather have someone else do the job as i got no clue.
            its done... i got discharged.. thats what i wanted. he isnt that proactively helpful when i ask questions sometimes....

            Comment


            • #51
              hiring an attorney always increase ur chance of winning a case.This is my view.
              Personal Injury Attorney Resource
              Alaska Personal Injury Resource

              Comment


              • #52
                My attorney said $1K plus filing fees. Funny thing is two attorneys said filing fees were $399 the other said $299. I don't get why. I think the price varies a bit with the state. Federal only goes so far.

                Comment


                • #53
                  After filing Pro Se it is not something I would reccomend. Nothing bad has happened yet, its just when I weight it out the benefit seems minimal.

                  Pro Se:
                  1) 300 filing
                  2) 40 hours to read Nolo and fill out all required docs (not including info lawyer wanted anyways), this step is a little stressful to be honest as you are afraid you arent doing it right at times.
                  3) (For me) 20 dollars in printing fees from kinkos
                  4) (For me) 60 dollars gas to drive to court and submit paperwork, then realized they didnt take money orders if iits not from USP, to bank to cash money order, then back in line again.
                  5) 6 hours out of a weekday to file including commute (how many dont have this time on a weekday during business hours)
                  6) Wondering if I missed something
                  7) Have to ammend this week because I didnt list the court in the judgement ($26) plus 1/2 hour
                  8) Only have a forum/books to consult no matter how pressing my questions seem (in my head)
                  9) Learned alot more than I would have if I let an attorney do it.
                  Total = $406 + 47 hours versus....Attny = $1800 and none of the above
                  1800-406= $1394/(47hrs)= roughly $30 an hour

                  Seriously, it wasnt the end of the world but if I had the money there is not way I would consider doing that again. But then again if I could afford a maid I wouldnt do my own laundry either.
                  Not only am I not a lawyer, the California BAR association has sent me numerous letters telling me not to even THINK about going to law school. In fact, the lay advice I provide is not even good. In the end remember, you get what you pay for, and here in BK land were not the best at paying.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Attorney Fees

                    Originally posted by oaklag View Post
                    i met with an attorney for the first time today and she said it was $3000 to file a chapter 13 with $850 upfornt and it was $2250 to file for chapter 7. Can anyone tell me if this seems reasonable. My case is pretty simple i think. Is it worth trying to do it yourself? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
                    Probably depends on your area. Mine was $800 plus court fees. I do believe that since an attorney and or his or her staff get paid for their time, you will get a better rate if your information is basically plug and play. The more work they have to do the higher the rate. You could go so far as to do the petition to the best of your ability and then let your attorney put the finishing touches on it. (Don't recommend you actually do it yourself).

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Priceless ProSe View Post
                      After filing Pro Se it is not something I would reccomend. Nothing bad has happened yet, its just when I weight it out the benefit seems minimal.

                      Pro Se:
                      1) 300 filing
                      2) 40 hours to read Nolo and fill out all required docs (not including info lawyer wanted anyways), this step is a little stressful to be honest as you are afraid you arent doing it right at times.
                      3) (For me) 20 dollars in printing fees from kinkos
                      4) (For me) 60 dollars gas to drive to court and submit paperwork, then realized they didnt take money orders if iits not from USP, to bank to cash money order, then back in line again.
                      5) 6 hours out of a weekday to file including commute (how many dont have this time on a weekday during business hours)
                      6) Wondering if I missed something
                      7) Have to ammend this week because I didnt list the court in the judgement ($26) plus 1/2 hour
                      8) Only have a forum/books to consult no matter how pressing my questions seem (in my head)
                      9) Learned alot more than I would have if I let an attorney do it.
                      Total = $406 + 47 hours versus....Attny = $1800 and none of the above
                      1800-406= $1394/(47hrs)= roughly $30 an hour

                      Seriously, it wasnt the end of the world but if I had the money there is not way I would consider doing that again. But then again if I could afford a maid I wouldnt do my own laundry either.
                      Yes, someone is still following this thread, and thank you very much for posting all this info! I think I'm going to go ahead and file pro se. It may be months before I have the cash for an attorney's fees ($1,500) as my income fluctuates, but I do have the money now for the filing fee and to use an online doc preparer.

                      Not only would I like to just get this over with (rather than waiting until I have the money for the attorney), the NOD on my house was just filed, so time is of the essence. I have no fantasy of "saving" the house, but I would like it all to be rolled into one event on my credit report.

                      Thanks again for sharing your experience.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        I hired an attorney. I am very glad that I did. I was not a simple case. I paid $2000 for Ch 7. Covered all fees.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Anyone file Chp. 13 recently? How much did your lawyer charge?
                          01/17/2009 Filed
                          03/03/2009 341 Meeting
                          04/14/2009 Confirmation Hearing

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Priceless ProSe View Post
                            After filing Pro Se it is not something I would reccomend. Nothing bad has happened yet, its just when I weight it out the benefit seems minimal.

                            Pro Se:
                            1) 300 filing
                            2) 40 hours to read Nolo and fill out all required docs (not including info lawyer wanted anyways), this step is a little stressful to be honest as you are afraid you arent doing it right at times.
                            3) (For me) 20 dollars in printing fees from kinkos
                            4) (For me) 60 dollars gas to drive to court and submit paperwork, then realized they didnt take money orders if iits not from USP, to bank to cash money order, then back in line again.
                            5) 6 hours out of a weekday to file including commute (how many dont have this time on a weekday during business hours)
                            6) Wondering if I missed something
                            7) Have to ammend this week because I didnt list the court in the judgement ($26) plus 1/2 hour
                            8) Only have a forum/books to consult no matter how pressing my questions seem (in my head)
                            9) Learned alot more than I would have if I let an attorney do it.
                            Total = $406 + 47 hours versus....Attny = $1800 and none of the above
                            1800-406= $1394/(47hrs)= roughly $30 an hour

                            Seriously, it wasnt the end of the world but if I had the money there is not way I would consider doing that again. But then again if I could afford a maid I wouldnt do my own laundry either.
                            I could not agree more! If I had to do it over again, I'd be thinking hard about finding the $$ for a lawyer. It wasn't anything difficult in my case, just a LOT of reading and learning many different parts of a complicated system. I used a legal documents program made for lawyers. Some of those software vendors sell you a "one-time" license use fee of their same product used by lawyers. I paid $79 for the program (normally costing $875 to lawyers). The program was frickin awesome and made all the documents so much easier and was well worth the $79. I made a few minor mistakes in the process that probably would not have happened if I had a lawyer. But still, I got through it, thanks to lurking this forum for 8 months and reading NOLO two or three times over! And having a really nice trustee!! And now, I'm starting to get nervous as today I just past the half way point through the 60 day club wait. Current status is awaiting discharge and closure. Whew! Only 30 days to go, I wonder how long I can keep my fingers crossed!!
                            Last edited by duplantisjj; 08-15-2008, 07:19 PM.
                            6/11/08 - Filed Ch. 7, Filed Pro Se, No-Assets
                            7/15/08 - 341 Meeting Held
                            10/01/08 - Discharged
                            10/08/08 - Case officially Closed!!

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              My Chapter 7 cost me $1,000, plus the fees to the credit counselor we had to use. Why would it be so much more expensive for chapter 13?
                              My name is Jenna Banks. I'm a full time writer who's been through bankruptcy.

                              I love answering questions! I write about my bankruptcy experience, and how I repaired my own credit, every Monday and Wednesday on my blog.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Hire An Attorney

                                This one is too high, but don't do it with out an attorney. Shop around; lawyers are dropping out of the trees looking for work. Don't be fooled by their swagger and BS attitude. They are just like the rest of us. If he or she gives you the slightest ego or attitude, go to the next. Yes it looks simple, but 1 wrong move could ruin your life.

                                Comment

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