“Why Didn’t my Lawyer Tell Me?”: How Not to Swim in the Bankruptcy Alligator Pond

Any lawyer can file for bankruptcy. The lawyer does not have to specialize in bankruptcy, or have any particular training. The only criteria is that they have to be admitted to the federal district in which they practice and in most districts, that is as simple as filling out a form and paying a fee.

When you file your bankruptcy you will have to attend what is known as a ‘creditors meeting’, where your creditors can ask you questions regarding your case. This is a public forum, and I spend hours sitting in creditors meetings where other lawyers’ clients are being questioned by the trustee. Over and over again I watch these clients cringe in horror as the trustee is telling them all of the things that are about to happen to them. The stunned look on their faces makes it clear that this bad news comes as a complete surprise. Their lawyer clearly did not have enough smarts or experience to understand the issues that are now confronting their horrified clients. Lawyers get a bad rap because so many of them are causing undue pain, and violating the trust that their clients place in them.

I know a lawyer who is the preeminent bankruptcy lawyer in his county. He writes articles for the local bar rag. He files lots of cases. Other lawyers in his area refer him cases because they assume he knows what he is doing. Time and time again his cases are a mess, and lead to serious problems for his client. Just because a lawyer has been doing something a long time, or has a large volume, does not make her competent.

In the blog postings to follow I am going to share with you some of the most prevalent disasters; the one’s that I see client/victims face time and time again. And I will share how, if you are considering bankruptcy, you can avoid them.

Here is a preview:

  1. “Why didn’t my lawyer tell me that I would lose my business when I filed bankruptcy?”
  2. “Why didn’t my lawyer tell me that I was going to lose my inheritance?”
  3. “Why didn’t my lawyer tell me that the bankruptcy court would go after my relatives?”
  4. “Why didn’t my lawyer tell me I would have to pay big dollars to the bankruptcy trustee?
  5. “Why didn’t my lawyer tell me that my discharge could be at risk?”

In the days ahead, you will experience the horror stories, and I will explain how that those stories do not have to be yours. Follow the “Bankruptcy Butcher” and save yourself from financial calamity.

About the author: Julianne Frank is a board-certified bankruptcy specialist practicing for 37 years in Palm Beach County Florida, serving the Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Tequesta, and Palm Beach Gardens communities.