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

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  • #91
    Bankruptcy is complicated and in my opinion it is best to have an attorney's help. I think the prices you were quoted are reasonable, but you might be able to get a Chapter 7 for a little less.


    • #92
      A payment plan might be a good idea if the attorney offers it.


      • #93
        Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding and it is worth is to hire an attorney. Most of the forms may look like easy fill in the blank questions but the ramifications for failure to fill them out correctly are severe. It's better to be sure you are filing the correct chapter, you qualify, your assets will be protected and that you are exempting what you can fully and not transferring anything in violation of the code. Not as easy as it looks. And cheap is not always better. Find someone you feel you trust and that is knowledgeable on all aspects of the bankruptcy process. Good Luck


        • #94
          What SteveGreen said. In addition, the New York City Bankruptcy Assistance Project says "Since the bankruptcy laws were changed in 2005, it is VERY HARD to file a bankruptcy petition without an attorney. The process is difficult and you may lose property or other rights if you do not know the law." (, last section)


          • #95
            My vote would be to get an attorney. We had to file due to my wife's business struggling as a result of the poor economy. We both signed personal guarantees to obtain financing for the building that housed the business and we knew that we were not going to have sufficient cash flow to pay the mortgage. We had an interview with the attorney to discuss our options and he helped us plan for our filing. The attorney that we used was sharp, experienced and eased our anxiety about passing the means test since I was employed and had a decent income. In our district he is also a US trustee so he sits on the other side of cases. He knows how trustees think and what gets their attention. To me, this would be key consideration when looking for an attorney especially if a business is be involved.
            [Side note: The bank was completely unreasonable and uncooperative about trying to work something out. They would rather have an empty building in an extremely depressed commercial property market than get some income and allow 15 people to stay employed. I mean, WTF? Isn't a bank supposed to help businesses operate and keep people employed? End of vent.]


            • #96
              Originally posted by 20FT5 View Post
              [Side note: The bank was completely unreasonable and uncooperative about trying to work something out. They would rather have an empty building in an extremely depressed commercial property market than get some income and allow 15 people to stay employed. I mean, WTF? Isn't a bank supposed to help businesses operate and keep people employed? End of vent.]
              My business landlord was just like a lot of banks. They just will not work with you. I was "asked" to leave just as my business seemed to be turning around. Landlords in my area seem to prefer to have 1/2 vacant buildings, than somebody who had least paid about 90% of the rent for the past 2 years, and was about to catch up.


              • #97
                as a paralegal let me quote, and i think i'm pretty versed in the law....he who defends himself in court has a fool for a lawyer. i hired one that's for certain!

                just IMhumble O....
                8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK


                • #98
                  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.
                  I paid $1500 for my CH 7 but that seems to be the norm here in PA. A 13 runs about $3000 here also. Mine was simple to but honestly, when I saw the paperwork, I had issues. Some folks have done it but for me, the attorney was a no brainer.

                  Good luck whatever you decide.
                  Filed CH 7 4/15/11
                  341 5/23/11
                  DISCHARGED & CLOSED ON 7/27/11


                  • #99
                    There is no question in my mind - get an attorney.

                    As a CPA I deal with tax law, and even though I've been doing it for 30+ years it's complicated. For me it was bad enough that my personal road led me to bankruptcy. But the last thing I would ever do is pretend that I could tackle one of the most important decisions of my life, and do it alone knowing there are legal issues and other complications out there. I'm not saying an attorney is perfect either - you could get a lazy one. But it's a better combination to do your own due diligence and your own learning while having an attorney be the lead.


                    • Our chapter 13 was $1500 up front $1800 in the plan--Total $3300--Worth every penny--No problems


                      • I am dying and would like to have a recommendation for attorney in southern California. Thanks a million.


                        • I filed a a moderately complicated Chapter 7 by myself (it included an incorporated businesses) and other than a few trips to this forum I spoke to no one about it. Honestly, if you are a person of average intelligence you can handle the paperwork. What I found difficult was the emotional roller coaster. If you hire a lawyer you can say, "I'll let my attorney worry about that." When you are your own attorney, that means you're the one doing the worrying! That's on top of dealing with all the other personal and financial stress surrounding a bankruptcy.

                          There is a difference between what one can do and what is wise to do. Since I went pro se myself, I'd never discourage anyone from doing it. But if you are debating going pro se I would ask that you consider the decision carefully. Is learning about BK law and the associated rules and procedures really the most effective use of your time? Can you handle the reality that you are inexperienced and that what you don't even know you don't know can come back and bite you on the back? Deciding to do it pro se is not a casual decision.

                          Having sounded that note of caution I'll add this. Having an attorney is no guarantee of a smooth process. When I was at my 341 meeting there was a poor fellow whose attorney had messed up the paperwork by mixing both the state and federal exemptions on his petition. An elementary error.
                          Filed Chapter 7 non-consumer as a pro se. *Discharged* October 2011.


                          • I think this amount is little big because there are so many good attorney's which provides a better services of filing bankruptcy in a very fair price.


                            • Is learning about BK law and the associated rules and procedures really the most effective use of your time? Can you handle the reality that you are inexperienced and that what you don't even know you don't know can come back and bite you on the back? Deciding to do it pro se is not a casual decision.
                              That is the key insight. I am hard pressed where the answer to "effective use of time" is yes, but that is true of most services. You CAN doe your own taxes (but if its complex, do you really want too).
                              You are exactly on point, pro se filers (and novice attorneys) get themselves into trouble is with the "don't even know to know" problem. You don't even know the right questions to ask to figure out you don't know something. The pro se filers that I see get in the most trouble are the arrogant professionals, relatively well educated, usually business owners of some kind or well educated professionals. These are people that think they are smarter than they really are, which means they don't do their homework and create all kinds of problems.

                              Pro se filers have an odd, or unexpected profile. Most pro se cases are not what you would consider "simple" cases. Those with truly simple cases usually come from a socio-economic sphere where they are not confident to handle the case themselves. Many pro se cases have some issue or marginal complexity which usually trips up the case or they end up unnecessarily losing an asset. Most bankruptcy filers are not poor, they are nearly all middle class (a statement on our society I suppose), which means there is income, there are some assets, etc.


                              • Many attorneys provide reasonable rates and will guide you through the difficult process of filing bankruptcy. Chances are there are much more important things going on in your life than babysitting your bankruptcy filings. Please visit our website for more details.
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