MORE DEBTORS GOING BANKRUPTCY WITHOUT LAWYER. SAVE ON BANKRUPT FEES, DO IT CHEAP.
It would probably not surprise too many of us today, given the current economic conditions in the nation and the long emerging national statistics that show that more and more Americans all across the country have been filing personal bankruptcy at astronomical levels. But a recent national random sample pulling made by one researcher about chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy cases filed by American debtors during the two month period of July and August of 2010, made this significant finding: namely, that overall, a little more than 1 out of every 9 cases (11.3%) filed in the American bankruptcy courts, were filed by the debtors themselves, WITHOUT using an attorney. In deed, the pulling, which was done by Professor Robert Lawless of the University of Illinois Law School, a well-known expert on bankruptcy and credit law, showed that the rate of non-attorney filings by debtors, was higher in chapter 13 cases (13.8%) than it was in chapter 7 (10.1%). In short, today more debtors are undergoing bankruptcy without lawyer.
An interesting piece of information, no doubt!
But note, though, that these specific figures are yet merely a “national average.” You should note that, though significant, this figure of 1 in 9 bankruptcy filings being done without an attorney, will probably not really strike many experts who are knowledgeable in the field as particularly dramatic or representative of the whole statistics. In deed, as Lawless himself pointed out, a fact long-established in bankruptcy administration has been that there are some court districts across the United States in which the rate of persons who file bankruptcy without a lawyer, is in fact as high as 30%. Or more! As in major urban areas, for example, such as California, New York city, etc. In such districts, debtors save on bankruptcy fees with petition preparer, as there is really no such thing as low-cost bankruptcy lawyer.
BUT WHAT DOES THIS DO TO THE LAWYERS’ ARGUMENT THAT BANKRUPTCY IS SO “COMPLEX, and Hence Requires and Justifies the Lawyers High Fees in Bankruptcy”?
Nevertheless, this current release of the Lawless survey is very significant. The Lawless survey which shows that nationwide at least a significant proportion of bankruptcy filers, some 1 out of 9 of them (and the findings by other data which show that up to 30% or more in certain larger urban court districts) do so without using attorney, immediately throws a big wrench in one basic argument of the organized bar and bankruptcy lawyers obviously engaged in the protection of their lucrative business of bankruptcy filings. A major favorite of bankruptcy lawyers and common argument often heard from them, is that probably the most important reason why the job of doing what is, essentially, a FINANCIAL business of bankruptcy filing, should be left solely to remain the exclusive preserve of “attorneys,” is that, according to them, the process involved in filing bankruptcy is a “complex” undertaking. According to them, doing bankruptcy work is unusually a forbidding task too difficult for anyone, except for the “highly skilled and educated” type, to do, and if you’re a debtor even with any thoughts whatsoever about doing bankruptcy yourself, maybe you had better re-thing that, for, they say, nothing could be more foolish or “risky” an undertaking for you to attempt! You simply, of course, should just hire an “attorney” to walk you through it like a baby, they say!
NOW THIS QUESTION: So with this latest reminder just released, if bankruptcy is supposedly so “complex” that only a person with presumably the special skills and training of a bankruptcy “lawyer” can undertake it, then how is it that such large number and huge proportion of debtors (some 10, 20 or 30% or more of them, depending on which districts) who are not “attorneys,” actually do it? And do it largely just as successfully and as well as the lawyers, themselves? But is there ever really any such thing as low-cost bankrupt lawyer?
“It’s very interesting that the pro se rate for the converted/dismissed chapter 13 cases, is the same as the overall rate.,” noted Professor Lawless about the findings of his survey. Adding that “That would suggest that being pro se in chapter 13 is not meaningfully associated with having one’s case dismissed or converted.” Consequently, more debtors going bankruptcy without lawyer as they seek to save on bankruptcy fees with petition preparer
FACT: Actually, the reason the above situation is the actual case, is rather simple. The reason is that, actually, the truth of the matter is that most personal bankruptcies (or, for that matter, a good deal of small business bankruptcies, as well) are really in deed simple. So much so, in fact, experts (lawyers, court trustees, judges, etc) who specialize in bankruptcy law and procedures, say, that you really don’t need the services of a lawyer to handle ordinary personal bankruptcy since they are generally too simple, they say, and too elementary and largely clerical to undertake.
Many experts who make such points generally cite two basic reasons on which they base this claim: First, that an overwhelming majority of personal bankruptcy cases are so-called “no asset” or “minimum asset” cases – that is, cases in which the owing debtors literally have or own absolutely NOTHING that the creditors can claim or attach, let alone any money for paying the lawyer’s hefty fees; and second, the FACT that bankruptcy, they say, is really a relatively simple matter (contrary to the layman’s common belief that bankruptcy is a complicated procedure), which often actually involves the mere completion of simple routine forms and submitting them to the local bankruptcy court.
Janice Kosel is a Professor of law at Golden State University, San Francisco, and a recognized author and expert on personal bankruptcy issues. She says: “If you can do that [prepare your income tax return] you can probably handle your… [bankruptcy] yourself…”
Stephen Elias, California Attorney, prominent author and specialist in bankruptcy law, most recently summed it up this way: “There is seldom a good reason to use an attorney in a consumer Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. The procedures are almost exclusively administrative – that is, there is no appearance before a judge…The forms are all (with very few exceptions) pre-printed in plain English…[But, in spite of
that fact], What’s tragic is that people actually think they have to have attorney representation [to be able to do it].”
And Jonathan B. Alper, practicing Florida bankruptcy attorney, put it this way: “Most Chapter 7 consumer bankruptcies are relatively simple and [hence the] legal fees are [should be] low compared to other legal work.” Do bankruptcy cheap?
Is there any way to do bankruptcy cheap? Summed up simply, an important objective reality already – an established FACT, according to a recent research finding cited above – is that at least 1 out of every 9 debtors (and it’s even much higher than that in certain parts of the nation) who file for bankruptcy across America today, file it WITHOUT using a lawyer. That there are more debtors going bankruptcy without lawyers. Rather, they file bankruptcy, in stead, with the assistance of a non-attorney service called the Debt Relief Agency or Bankruptcy Petition Preparer – usually well-trained and experienced paralegals specialized in bankruptcy document preparation and procedures, but who offer their services to debtors at far lower and more AFFORDABLE cost than the lawyer’s fees. Given this reality, it becomes clear that as a debtor probably contemplating filing bankruptcy, you need NOT, as the bankruptcy lawyers are often wont to claim you should, necessarily run to or use a person titled a “lawyer” whenever you wish to file bankruptcy, or necessarily have to pay exorbitant legal fees usually associated with attorney involvement in bankruptcies. Rather, you have a real option that you may choose to exercise – a non-attorney bankruptcy option that could be just as effective in getting you a bankruptcy filing, but which is low-cost and more affordable. With bankruptcy fees still rising, you can definitely save on bankrupt fees with petition preparer.
NEED MORE INFORMATION?
Wish to join the growing army of restive, financially hard-pressed bankruptcy seekers across America today who seem increasingly to prefer and flock to available “non attorney” assistance and services to get their bankruptcy filing done, but at costs that are low, low, and affordable? Or, may be you want pointers on how to end the “too broke to even declare bankruptcy” problem confronted by many debtors today, through using a good, reliable Federally-approved Debt Relief Agency or Bankruptcy Petition Preparer to do a successful bankruptcy filing for yourself at an incredibly low-cost that you can well afford? Please visit this site: http://www.afford-bankruptcy.com
Benjamin Anosike, Ph.D., has been dubbed by experts and reviewers of his many books, manuals and body of work, which dwell largely on self-help law issues, as “the man who almost literally wrote the book on the use of self-help law methods” by America’s consumers in doing their own routine legal chores – in uncontested divorce, will-making, simple probate, settlement of a dead person’s estate, simple no-asset bankruptcy, etc. A pioneer and intellectual and moral leader of the 1970s-based “you do your own law” movement and a lifelong vehement advocate and veteran of historical battles for the right of the American consumers to perform their own tasks in the area of routine legal matters, Anosike was one of the pioneers who fought and survived (along with many others of courage) the lawyers’ and organized bar’s stiff war of the 1970s and ’80s against American consumers and entrepreneurs who merely sought, then, to use, write, distribute or sell law-related self-help books and kits for non-lawyers to do their own law, upon the lawyers’ claim then that such was purportedly “unauthorized practice of law” or “practicing law without a license.” Anosike holds graduate degrees in labor economics and management and a Ph.D. in jurisprudence. Once characterized by a review of the American Library Association’s Booklist Journal as “probably the most prolific author in the field of legal self-help today,” Dr Anosike is the author of over 26 books and manuals (and countless number of articles) on various topics of American law, including 4 volumes on personal and business bankruptcy filing, in a lifetime of dedication. For more on the subject matter discussed in this article, or on how to get a low-cost, affordable bankruptcy filing, or the author’s other books and manuals, visit this site: http://www.Afford-Bankruptcy.Com