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341 meeting today! Pro Se, thoughts and observations

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  • 341 meeting today! Pro Se, thoughts and observations

    I just had my 341 meeting today. It went really smooth. I knew all of my paperwork, and had answers for all of the trustees questions. Actually, the trustee just wants to get you on the record while going over the petition. But it seemed as more of an outline rather than getting down into the petition itself. Pretty straightforward questions, no hassle. I did take notice of a few things and observations. 1.) The bankruptcy attorneys with clients at my 341 meeting all had really bad suits. One attorney looked as if he just graduated law school, and had an off the rack JC Penny suit. Other attorneys had really bad jackets with pants that did not look so good. More on line with what you would expect from a used car salesman. Other attorneys did not even wear suits. They just had pants and a shirt. Very unprofessional if you ask me. Dont these attorneys charge upwards of 3k to do a bankruptcy? I had one attorney approach me saying that he left me a voicemail? After about a minute of me looking at him confused, he stated some other name than mine. I said that was not me. This guy did not even know who or what his client looked like!!! I also could hear one attorney speaking to a client and chuckling at some of the other pro se filers. He was making very inappropriate and insulting remarks about the other filers there. Very unprofessional in my book. Also this same attorney got confused when the trustee was asking his client about his job, and the client was not conforming to what his petition stated. Seems to me that a professional would get all of this stuff straight before going into a hearing that is on the record. All in all this meeting only furthered my belief that filing pro se was a good decision on my part. I know my situation better than any of those lawyers would have ever been able to council me. The trustee asked if I had anyone help me prepare my forms. I stated that I had only purchased the NOLO guide online and did it all on my laptop. The trustee did not even know what the NOLO guide was? I am just very relieved now that this meeting is over. Thoughts and questions? Thanks!!

  • #2
    Congratulations on a smooth pro-se 341!

    Attorneys are human like all of us. Not everybody is good at their job and not everybody has good taste.

    I bet it is common for attorneys to not recognize their clients. My attorney was excellent, but I had to approach him to let him know who I was. It's understandable. We only met once, then I sent in all of my information, corresponded by email and met with his paralegal to sign the petition. It had been about 3 months between our one meeting and the 341. I actually pulled up his website to see his picture to make sure I recognized him!

    As far as the cheap suits are concerned, very little of that $3,000 actually goes into the attorney's pocket. They have a lot of overhead, including rent, staff, continuing education, bar dues, office equipment rent or maintenance and malpractice insurance which is very expensive. Many are also paying off huge student loans. Many attorneys struggle financially just like the rest of us.

    I don't know about other parts of the country, but here in San Francisco there has been a general trend in law firms towards dressing down. I have heard there are studies that conclude that casual dress codes result in more productive employees. For years, my firm was "business casual" every day except Friday which was casual, meaning we could wear jeans. This year they switched to everyday being a casual day. Many people still choose to dress up. Attorneys who don't wear suits everyday still wear suits to court and sometimes for client meetings, depending on the client. Many keep a suit at the office so they are prepared for last minute meetings or hearings. A 341 really isn't a court hearing. I bet those attorneys in shirt and slacks wear suits when they appear before a judge!

    Filing pro-se is not for everybody. But, somebody who has the time to do the job right and is good at navigating legal issues can do better for him/herself than a lousy attorney.
    Last edited by LadyInTheRed; 11-07-2014, 06:57 PM.
    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
      The 341 Meeting is informal and specifically not before a judge or held in a courtroom.

      I concur with LITR. I know several attorneys and they look very different at a 341 or client meting, than they do before the judge. I have seen some that dressed much like the poster wrote, but on "game day", in the courtroom, they were all in their best, matching, Brook's Brothers, Armani, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, you name it. All in grays, blacks and navy blues. White shirts, standard.

      As LITR wrote, they struggle just as we do... they even file bankruptcy.

      I was probably the most shocked ever when I had my Chapter 13 Plan confirmed at the first evidentiary hearing. This Plan included strip downs (lien strips), cram downs, a step plan, a house, a rental property, and tax debt. I wasn't so shocked that I was confirmed, since I thought that was "easy" and every one always gets confirmed. I was shocked because a senior attorney, who was the president of the local bar, shook my hand and congratulated me. I didn't understand what that meant at the time but I do now.

      If you are Pro Se, there is no attorney that is ever going to be as intimate with any case as you are with your case. It's just the nature of things. What they do know is how to deal with issues that could creep up. What they do know are the local rules and usually have a relationship with the United States Trustee, the Chapter 13 Trustee(s) and many of the Chapter 7 Panel Trustees. They, themselves, may also be a Chapter 7 Panel Trustee. While you may know NOLO, they know FRCivP, FRBP, and FREv, and a bunch of local rules. Many attorneys are also trial tested. The NOLO book means nothing to them. If you said you read Title 11 and studied the FRBP and the local rules, they'd probably be more in tune with you.

      Maybe you were expecting more, but bankruptcy has many informal parts. Until you are in front of a Federal Judge in a Federal courtroom and there is a trial, it may all seem very informal. But that's the beauty of the bankruptcy process! In many cases, the debtor never needs to attend court and does not need with the formality of trials!
      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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