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341 Today- Questions and Venting (long)

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  • 341 Today- Questions and Venting (long)

    I a new here. I recently found this board last week and have been busy reading people's experiences. Last night between urges to vomit and panic I was trying to get some sleep for my 341 meeting today. As most expressed, the meeting was not as bad as I had made it out to be and I lived. I am furious with my atty. I should back up and say that I "knew" I should've trusted my gut when I first talked to her. I don't know anyone else's experience but one day I hit the panic button at work and called an attorney. I sat in my car frustrated not knowing which way was up. I was behind on my mortgage, had been barely able to afford my credit cards and I was slowly going under. They wanted to do a phone consultation which I agreed to. I went home early and after talking to her for a few minutes felt completely overwhelmed and she seemed "annoyed". I assumed I was overreacting as she is used to this stuff. She advised me not to modfy my mortgage and walk away from my house--which I didn't want-- and to quit paying my credit cards. Even though my income was reduced at work due to them eliminating bonus income, she chastised me for paying my credit cards over my house. I tried explaining my house payment was more than my credit cards and I didn't want to be behind on both but she didn't want to hear it. She sent me the paperwork in September. I had went back/forth on filng or settling with my creditors. I talked to her assistant for the most part who was quite pleasant. In February I still was scared to death to file but she held my feet to the fire, she wanted to know if I would file or not. Having already invested time with her and starting to fill out the packet, I paid the retainer and we filed 4/5/13. I should back up here and say in March when we went to originally file, she was one of the coldest women I had met. I was very nervous going to that meeting. She made me feel so insecure but I had already paid the money. After I filed I got the papers right away about my meeting. I was very scared and emailed her assistant often who also seemed at this point still pleasant but short with her answers. There was no more full answers to questions, they just got shorter and kind of more rude. I did go ahead and get my mortgage modified which don't think she liked but where else was I going to live with my kids?

    So today I show up early to her office, she isn't ready. We had to wait on one more client before we could walk over to the federal bldg. She called him on his phone and was very rude to him. So we walk over in silence. Keep in mind most of the questions I had or reassurance I needed I didn't get. Thank GOD I found this board a week ago or I would be even more in the dark. We go over and she thumbs through my file and says ok sit in the back of the room and "assigns" me a seat. She does the same thing with her other client, but then she went and sat in a different adjoining room reading the news paper. We had to wait awhile as everyone else did their 341 meetings. Before they started the other client was asking me about my experience with the atty and I was honest about how dissatisfied I was with her. He too had the miserable interaction. All the other atty's were sitting with their clients except ours. So as I was hearing the trustee rattling off questions I remembered that I had over 1K in my bank acct at the time of filing. I go into the other room and wanted to ask her about if that would be a problem because I want to be honest. She again seemed annoyed and said "it doesn't matter, it's all exempt" in the most smug way. I walked away and next it was my turn in the hot seat. I go to get sworn in and where is my atty? She's still sitting in the other room reading her news paper. I was pretty humiliated. The trustee had to ask me to go get her. Instead another atty jumps up and said I'll go get her. And it was over rather quickly and after it was all over, she said ok that's it and went to walk away. She said I would get a discharge letter in the mail and her assistant would email when it's closed. I am sooooo upset with how she handled the case. And honestly a little disappointed in me that I didn't know what to look for. She is highly reputable and on her website and other websites, there is links from other attorneys in their little network. Here are my questions that she seemed so annoyed to answer:
    1. When will I know if a creditor disputes anything
    2. Am I guaranteed a discharge?
    3. My employer requires me to advise them when/If I file BK. Do you know why this is and has anyone else had to do this?
    4. How soon will I see my credit score rebound?
    5. Do I have to follow any "rules" during the next 60 days?
    6. If I wrote a negative on-line review of my atty could it impact my case?

    Any info is appreciated. No one knows I filed so I really have no one else to ask.

  • #2
    Not sure why you're upset. Sounds like a routine run of the mill 341.

    There are no guarantees about anything. Your creditors have 60 days from the 341 to file any sort of adverserial action. The vast majority don't. Just live your life normally and don't write any reviews-your lawyer just hurt your feelings-doesn't sound like she did anything wrong-particulary if the case is discharge.
    If, your employer requires you to be bonded, or have a security clearance or handle money, those may be reasons tey need to be notified.


    • #3
      My atty., was short, curt and sometimes difficult, before the 341. At the 341, he was surprisingly very nice. I'm sorry it was rough for you. It should all be over soon.

      You can look into Pacer, if you want to keep an eye on things. It isn't necessary, but I appreciated it. Probably saved an email or two to the atty. There's a sticky on here somewhere about using Pacer, I'll see if I can find it.

      There are no guarantees, but if your attorney didn't foresee any problems, you'll probably be fine.

      After your discharge, wait about a month or two (it really takes that long for everything to catch up,) then get copies of your credit reports and make sure everything is reporting correctly. You won't be getting an Amex anytime soon (probably 8 to 10 years) but many of us have new credit cards and financed cars again not too long after discharge. Just use the time to read and research so you know what to expect.

      I wouldn't write a review. If something does come up down the road pertaining to your BK, and you flamed your lawyer, you've burned a bridge. Not all lawyers are charming and supportive, I'd rather have one that was surly, if he/she knew their stuff.

      Did you ask your employer about the requirement for BK notification? It is unusual, I think.

      By the way, welcome to the forum. There's lots of good info and help here.

      Info on Pacer:


      • #4
        Kj is upset because he/she was left out in the cold. As an attny is it my job to instill confidence in my client that she is doing the right thing. It is also my job to make sure the client understands (as best as a possible) the process and ramifications of filing. Sure, we all get the occasional client who needs way too much handholding, but such is par for the course and when that does happen I do try to temper my frustration. The client pays for a service and is entitled to my undivided attention when we meet or converse. What Kj describes shows indifference to the client and makes for bad lawyering.



        • #5
          Most of here wish we had you for an attorney, Des.


          • #6
            Kj, I think you should review your attorney after your case is closed. I would say up front that your attorney did not make any technical errors in your case (assuming that is true by the time the case is closed), but that she was rude and short and that you were a nervous wreck during the entire process because she did not take the time to answer your questions and explain the process to you.

            BK is an area of law that oftentimes involves a lot of emotion. BK attorneys need to be ready to do a little hand holding and know when and how to gently tell an overly worried client to stand back and let them do their job. (Not to say, that you were overly worried given the fact that you attorney was apparently not willing to do a little hand holding). Some clients take more time than others. It should all even out in the end. If not, the attorney is doing something wrong.
            Last edited by LadyInTheRed; 05-14-2013, 11:50 AM.
            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!


            • #7
              I had a similar experience with an attorney and I fired her. I lost some money and it was worth it.
              I found another attorney who I really liked and he did a good job. I was (and am) very happy i changed attorneys. For me, it was too important a process to be trusted to someone I felt uncomfortable with.


              • #8
                Thanks for your responses. I don't think my feelings were hurt at all, humiliated? yes, but not hurt feelings. I felt I was hiring an atty who had a lot of BK knowledge and professionalism. In fact, in the beginning I felt that perhaps I was overreacting. I was very emotional as this process was new to me and of course she was short then too but blamed myself for a lot of it. I also work with attorneys and took some law classes so I'm very familiar with their personalities. I just felt I didn't get what I paid for. And apparently neither did the other client. I wish I had the courage to be out the money and switch but it's all done and over. Another question though....after my 341 meeting does the trustee look over my papers and decide now if it's ok to file? Or was that done at the meeting? I'm reading about other people getting questioned now afterwards. If I understand it right, I thought that the next 30 days is for any creditor to dispute-which my atty said that won't happen and I would've already known by now- and then the following 30 days was to allow time for the paperwork to be processed. Is this where the questions come into play? When I was at my meeting and the trustee came in he told everyone in the room that their case would be discharged 7/6 as if there would be nothing to do afterwards.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by kj26mom View Post
                  1. When will I know if a creditor disputes anything
                  2. Am I guaranteed a discharge?
                  3. My employer requires me to advise them when/If I file BK. Do you know why this is and has anyone else had to do this?
                  4. How soon will I see my credit score rebound?
                  5. Do I have to follow any "rules" during the next 60 days?
                  6. If I wrote a negative on-line review of my atty could it impact my case?
                  1. Yes, you will know. The process would actually involve a filing which your attorney would get (and I would expect you to get notice from your attorney) but in the vast majority of cases the creditors do not make a fuss. If your attorney - cold and abrupt as she may be - told you not to worry, then don't worry.

                  2. No such thing as a "guarantee," but unless you were grilled for a lot longer than the usual amount of time, or unless you lied on your filing, or your attorney was completely incompetent, I'd expect that you would get a discharge. And by that I assume you want a discharge as a "no assets" case, which I am pretty sure you are likely to receive. Same as before - some attorneys don't have great "bedside manner" but they are still competent and will usually only show their truest abilities if something goes sideways. Don't worry.

                  3. If you are in a position of high trust - dealing with contracts, finances, trade secrets, etc - this is normal. Just be honest. Most employers are much more interested in WHY you had to file than the fact that you actually filed ("well, duh, if you paid me more then I would not have to have filed!")

                  4. Sooner than you might think. I encourage you to not worry - there are some basic exercises that can help you get your debt score back into acceptable realms in a year or two. But I would also challenge you to live a life without debt, and not worry about your credit score...

                  5. A few. You have to tell your atty if you move. You have to tell your atty if you inherit money or something of value. A very few other legal obligations that are rare. But don't go hog-wild on a spending spree. Just live your life as you would otherwise, and don't worry. The worst is behind you.

                  6. Not likely. I suggest a quick visit post-discharge where you can tell her face to face how you felt, if for no other reason than to get her side of the story. Like a doctor or a surgeon, it is always very nice to have your hired professional explain exactly what will happen and how and when, but some are better at making you feel like you are a part of the process and others are not. If you get a successful Ch 7 discharge, one could argue your atty did their job. But I agree that it is a much less stressful experience if you have a good talking relationship and understand how all the bankruptcy parts fit together. What I am not sure is whether online reviews actually carry any weight with a lot of people, as there are soooo many ways to "game" that system. If you want your attorney to have the opportunity to know how you feel and give her the opportunity to get better at what she does, I say a private meeting or a letter (not an email!) would do a lot more than an online review. Just my opinion though.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kj26mom View Post
                    Another question though....after my 341 meeting does the trustee look over my papers and decide now if it's ok to file? Or was that done at the meeting? I'm reading about other people getting questioned now afterwards. If I understand it right, I thought that the next 30 days is for any creditor to dispute-which my atty said that won't happen and I would've already known by now- and then the following 30 days was to allow time for the paperwork to be processed. Is this where the questions come into play? When I was at my meeting and the trustee came in he told everyone in the room that their case would be discharged 7/6 as if there would be nothing to do afterwards.
                    Again, don't worry. You case was actually filed well before your 341 hearing. If there were no challenges or curveballs at your 341, then you are likely about 60 days away from a perfectly normal no-assets discharge and the start of your new financial life. If there were going to be any disputes, chance are that they would have been raised at the 341 by a creditor, and if the Trustee didn't grill you on anything then you are likely in the "60 Day Club" awaiting your discharge and closing.

                    That is a good place to be.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for all of your support. I really appreciate this. It's been quite stressful.


                      • #12
                        Sorry to hear of your experience. In response to your questions.
                        1. Your attorney will notify you if anyone disputes anything, but honestly I don't hear of this happening very often. I certainly wouldn't lose sleep over it.
                        2. Again, I wouldn't lose sleep over this. If you were honest and don't have anything questionable then you have nothing to worry about. From what I've seen and heard it's typical to freak out a little and stress over it, but I'm sure they would have brought anything up at your 341 if there was anything questionable.
                        3. No, do you work in the financial industry? I've been job searching since my filing and never had any issues.
                        4. Depends on your situation. It really depends on how low your score fell before filing. Obviously the BK takes a huge hit, but it also depends on how much rebuilding you do when you are discharged. For example, I was less than 90 days behind on my credit cards when I filed, I took about a 70 point hit, but took out a new credit card 2 weeks after discharge and it went back up 50 points. It really just depends on the individual. Many people will tell you not to take out any loans or credit cards after discharge, but if you are responsible and use them correctly they can help to rebuild your credit quickly.
                        5. Report any inheritance you receive or financial windfalls you receive, but other than that you should be able to start saving again.
                        6. No, I doubt she'd even see it. It wouldn't hurt to wait until after you are discharged just to have the opportunity to make a full review after the process is completed. Most websites allow you to post reviews anonymously and to be honest I'm a firm believer that the negative feedback will help someone else from making a mistake. She might not have had the best people skills, but make sure you keep in mind how she actually handled the job you hired her to do as well.

                        Good luck.


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