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Nervous Newbie from New J ersey

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  • Nervous Newbie from New J ersey

    Hello everyone!

    I signed up for this forum a few months back when the thought of filing for bankruptcy crossed my mind. I thought about it generously and have deliberated back and forth, and I'm going for it now. I DIY everything so naturally I thought ProSe would be a good idea but I've decided against that notion. I *think* my case is rather simple, I'm married but would be filing separately, I'm young with no children, No home or property, my used car is probably worth $900-1,000 however I recently started a business which is my sole source of income since I couldn't find employment. My debt comes in the form of charged off credit cards from when I turned 18. I paid my way through a very pricey school and became dependent on credit for living expenses. The business I have isn't very profitable right now because it is a start-up however it's growing and there's lots of potential.

    I'm looking to find a lawyer who truly knows what he/she is doing (I know, aren't we all). I want a lawyer that's meeting with the same judges and clerks on a daily basis. Is there a way to get a copy or glimpse at the daily schedule, minutes or docket proceedings from a 341 Meeting nearest to me? I think something like that will help me to see which lawyers are truly active in bankruptcy law. Once I gather that info, I will schedule as many consultations as I can before coming to a decision. Is there a way to get this information without registering for PACER? I think PACER tracks everything and since I am not going Pro se I don't want them to think that i'm obtaining info for unlawful purposes.

    Thank in advance for any replies and thank you for your contributions to this site.

  • #2
    Welcome!

    I wouldn't worry about activity being tracked on PACER. It is all public record and simply viewing information will not draw any attention to yourself. The main thing is to make sure you don't accidently run up a large bill. I don't know how to use PACER to look for 341 meetings. Check your local court's website to see if it posts the 341 calendar. Or, you can go to the court and asking a clerk how to look up the court's calendar.

    Be careful about assuming an attorney with lots of cases is a good attorney. Somebody running a "bk mill" will have lots of case on the docket, but may not be a good choice. Look for somebody with long-term experience in the local court. You also may want to go to some 341 meetings and see what attorneys have complications arise and how they address them.
    LadyInTheRed is in the black!
    Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
    $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

    Comment


    • #3
      In looking for an attorney, one thing I did was go to my court's website to look at the 341 meeting schedule and especially, the judges' weekly calendar. Looking at those documents might give you some inkling who might be a BK mill and who isn't. Maybe those you do not see much in the calendars might have a high fee or want it all up front with no payment through the Ch 13 plan or charge a nominal fee for the initial consultation. I was also looking for attorneys who had a high rate of cases that went to confirmation w/o trustee objection. I used that as a winnowing-down factor form 50 candidates to 5 more than anything else. Really, the best way to evaluate who you want to hire is to get a free consultation. Walk into their office and discuss your case face-to-face. Let the atty earn your comfort level before they earn your money.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks!

        Originally posted by LadyInTheRed View Post
        Welcome!

        I wouldn't worry about activity being tracked on PACER. It is all public record and simply viewing information will not draw any attention to yourself. The main thing is to make sure you don't accidently run up a large bill. I don't know how to use PACER to look for 341 meetings. Check your local court's website to see if it posts the 341 calendar. Or, you can go to the court and asking a clerk how to look up the court's calendar.

        Be careful about assuming an attorney with lots of cases is a good attorney. Somebody running a "bk mill" will have lots of case on the docket, but may not be a good choice. Look for somebody with long-term experience in the local court. You also may want to go to some 341 meetings and see what attorneys have complications arise and how they address them.
        Thank you so much! I guess everything in moderation applies here as well. I have to find a way to guage their success rate as Switch625 suggested. For some reason I can only find directions to the 341 meeting but not the time and schedule. Very weird. I must be overlooking something.

        Originally posted by switch625 View Post
        In looking for an attorney, one thing I did was go to my court's website to look at the 341 meeting schedule and especially, the judges' weekly calendar. Looking at those documents might give you some inkling who might be a BK mill and who isn't. Maybe those you do not see much in the calendars might have a high fee or want it all up front with no payment through the Ch 13 plan or charge a nominal fee for the initial consultation. I was also looking for attorneys who had a high rate of cases that went to confirmation w/o trustee objection. I used that as a winnowing-down factor form 50 candidates to 5 more than anything else. Really, the best way to evaluate who you want to hire is to get a free consultation. Walk into their office and discuss your case face-to-face. Let the atty earn your comfort level before they earn your money.
        Thank you for the great advice. I think it's time for me to create a spreadsheet so I can have all their data in one place.
        Perhaps my brain is just fried however I cannot locate the Judges' calender or 341 meeting schedule at all for my state. The only thing I can seem to find is the holiday calender. I was just able to find a trustee's calender on their own private webpage.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by LoveMercy View Post
          Thank you so much! I guess everything in moderation applies here as well. I have to find a way to guage their success rate as Switch625 suggested. For some reason I can only find directions to the 341 meeting but not the time and schedule. Very weird. I must be overlooking something.
          Not necessarily. What is available online varies by court.
          LadyInTheRed is in the black!
          Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
          $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

          Comment


          • #6
            I checked the NJ Bankruptcy Court's website. You are right LoveMercy, no 341 meeting schedules or weekly court hearing listings. In Eastern District PA, the 341 meeting schedules are posted weekly, but are not archived. The Court hearing list (also posted weekly and not archived) in the Philly District are very detailed. They list debtor by name, debtor's attorney, action (confirmation, motion to dismiss, motion to lift stay-which will list the address of the property in quesion, other motions), For objections to proof of claim the creditor is listed.

            Maybe you will have to go to the courthouse nearest you to actually look at a schedule posted on a wall! Good luck.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi and welcome from a fellow NJ-an. We have 3 vicinages for bk. If you go to Newark they run 341' s all day M-F on the corner of Raymond and McCarter. It's an office building, not a courthouse. If you tell me where you live I can tell you if that 's the right one for you.

              Keep On Smilin'

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by switch625 View Post
                I checked the NJ Bankruptcy Court's website. You are right LoveMercy, no 341 meeting schedules or weekly court hearing listings. In Eastern District PA, the 341 meeting schedules are posted weekly, but are not archived. The Court hearing list (also posted weekly and not archived) in the Philly District are very detailed. They list debtor by name, debtor's attorney, action (confirmation, motion to dismiss, motion to lift stay-which will list the address of the property in quesion, other motions), For objections to proof of claim the creditor is listed.

                Maybe you will have to go to the courthouse nearest you to actually look at a schedule posted on a wall! Good luck.
                Thank you so much for the taking the time to do that! You're Awesome! I spent a few hours clicking through every single link, telling myself the info must be right there. I'm glad to see that I am not completely blind or a total dunce.

                Originally posted by keepsmiling View Post
                Hi and welcome from a fellow NJ-an. We have 3 vicinages for bk. If you go to Newark they run 341' s all day M-F on the corner of Raymond and McCarter. It's an office building, not a courthouse. If you tell me where you live I can tell you if that 's the right one for you.
                Thanks to you too! I'm a ways from Newark. I wouldn't want the lawyer to have to travel too far. Are you going the Pro se route or did you get an BK atty?

                Comment


                • #9
                  We are in the unfortunate position of nothing to gain by filing yet. One day we will, when we will be in a better position to. You may have to go to Newark, depending on where you live. Here is more info for you.
                  1. The Newark vicinage consists of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Union Counties.
                  2. The Trenton vicinage consists of part of Burlington (except for the townships of Cinnaminson, Delran, Edgewater Park, Evesham (Marlton), Maple Shade, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, Palmyra, Riverside and Riverton), Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset and Warren counties.
                  3. The Camden vicinage consists of Atlantic, part of Burlington (the townships of Cinnaminson, Delran, Edgewater Park, Evesham (Marlton), Maple Shade, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, Palmyra, Riverside and Riverton), Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties.

                  Keep On Smilin'

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hey KeepSmiling,

                    Thanks again!! Based on your post, I would definitely be in the Trenton vicinage since I live in middlesex county. I hope Trenton has 341 meetings everyday just like Newark. I will take a trip down there this week and check it out for sure.

                    Thanks again, I really mean it!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If you sign up with Pacer, you can find out which BK attorneys in your area also work as "panel trustees".
                      In my opinion this is the way to go, most of them work both sides of the street so by getting a lawyer who's also a trustee it's likely your case will go smoothly. My case was in Trenton also.

                      Here is a list of NJ ch7 trustees

                      If you have a common ch7 case practically any lawyer should be able to handle it; they use a software package called Best Case and the paralegals do all the work. If you don't have any controversial issues then your contact with the lawyer will be minimal.

                      I ended up doing most of the legal research myself using google, it wasn't easy but it was possible. A good book like Nolo guide will go a long way towards educating yourself.
                      Last edited by catleg; 10-28-2014, 04:31 PM.
                      filed chapter 13..confirmed...converted to chapter 7...DISCHARGED!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by catleg View Post
                        If you sign up with Pacer, you can find out which BK attorneys in your area also work as "panel trustees".
                        In my opinion this is the way to go, most of them work both sides of the street so by getting a lawyer who's also a trustee it's likely your case will go smoothly. My case was in Trenton also.

                        Here is a list of NJ ch7 trustees

                        If you have a common ch7 case practically any lawyer should be able to handle it; they use a software package called Best Case and the paralegals do all the work. If you don't have any controversial issues then your contact with the lawyer will be minimal.

                        I ended up doing most of the legal research myself using google, it wasn't easy but it was possible. A good book like Nolo guide will go a long way towards educating yourself.
                        I would second that -- I bought their book for (I think) $20 at B&N (but i'ts probably available at the local library too). I used it to file my case ProSe. Even if you don't do it ProSe, it will go a long way to helping you 1) understand what's going on, 2) know what kind of questions to ask your lawyer & 3) feel more confident about what's going on.

                        And this very website was invaluable to me in my preparation too. I didn't ask a lot of questions, but I learned a LOT just by reading other peoples' questions and the responses they received. So come back often even when you don't have questions.
                        Don
                        Filed Pro Se on 8/4/11 (No Asset, Chapter 7)
                        Redeemed Automobile ProSe (722 Redemption),Discharged on 11/3/11

                        Comment

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