I just completed a case where the lawyer, who for years had held himself out to be a Chapter 11 bankruptcy specialist, almost destroyed a life. His client came to me when her case had completely crashed. She wanted a second opinion on what went wrong, and the closer I looked, the worse it was. Her Chapter 11 had ended when the bankruptcy judge issued an order telling her lawyer he was suspended from practicing bankruptcy law in his court, that the lawyer was to give my client her money back, and the court was recommending to the Florida Bar that the lawyer be sanctioned for his unethical behavior. In fact, the Florida Bar has recommended disbarment, and my client is out over a million dollars.
This scenario is not uncommon. Many so-called Chapter 11 lawyers file cases that have no prayer for success, just because they see a big payday. The high incidence of Chapter 11’s that fail is skewed by the filing of these bogus cases.
Chapter 11 requires a deft analysis of financials and a thorough inquest into the workings of a business. I typically spend hours sifting through numbers so I can create realistic projections and plug those into the tool kit that is available in Chapter 11. Only when the client is thoroughly versed on my conclusions and agrees with them, will I pull the trigger. Chapter 11 is a commitment both financially and emotionally, and to file one after spending only a few minutes with a client is a recipe for disaster. It is the exact way Not to be a Chapter 11 lawyer.
To see actual copies of the pleadings and findings in the case I discuss in this post, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.