- Why should you use my firm?
- Will you give me a free initial consultation?
- How much will bankruptcy cost me?
- Are there any extra costs?
Why should you use my firm?
Seven reasons to use the Law Offices of Michael Poole
(The following is a frank discourse about the practice of bankruptcy law that most lawyers will not share with clients, because it takes an honest and open look at how they make money.)
First, I handle your case personally.
In many bankruptcy firms, the client only sees the lawyer once at the initial consultation. Thereafter the lawyer hands the case over to a legal assistant or paralegal and the lawyer is never heard of or seen again. Often this policy makes good money for the firm but is not in the client’s best interest. A client should have his lawyer engaged personally in his or her case. At my firm, I personally handle your case from beginning to discharge.
Second, I don’t use appearance attorneys
Every bankruptcy case requires the client to attend a 341 meeting of creditors. Most attorneys use an appearance attorney to cover these meetings for them because, once again, it’s cost effective. In general, appearance attorneys handle multiple cases in one day, therefore, they can afford to charge very little for any particular case. At the Law Offices of Michael Poole, I use every effort to be at your 341 meeting and would only use another attorney if there was a scheduling conflict.
Third, I only practice Bankruptcy Law
Most Bankruptcy attorneys don’t practice bankruptcy law exclusively, as I do. Instead, it is very typical for them to also practice family law, probate or other unrelated areas of the law. Yet others are distracted providing ancillary services such as loan modifications. I only practice bankruptcy law. While I am familiar with many areas of law, especially real estate which is essential to understanding bankruptcy, my practice focuses exclusively on bankruptcy.
Fourth, I am easy to reach
According to the California Bar, the number one complaint clients have against attorneys is that they do not answer or return calls. When you become my client, you get access to my personal e-mail and cell phone. Not many attorneys are this accessible. How does my family feel about this? In all honesty there are times they are not thrilled. Sometimes I have to take emergency calls on weekends and evenings. But they understand that my business depends on taking good care of my clients so we sacrifice a little in order to give clients the personal attention they deserve.
Fifth, I am not a mill
In the bankruptcy world, a mill is a practice that charges a small fee and attempts to get as much business as possible. A small profit is made with a large amount of clients. The problem with this system is that while good for the lawyer, it tends to shortchange the client. It is impossible to give personal care to clients in a mill operation. These businesses rely on paralegals and assistants to do most of the work. Although many of these assistants may be competent, they are not attorneys. You should NEVER engage a mill law firm even if you think that your case is very simple. There are just too many complex areas of bankruptcy law that shouldn’t be left in the hands of a non-attorney.
Sixth, beware of supplemental fee requests
Chapter thirteen clients in Southern California sign a form entitled “The Rights and Responsibilities Agreement” (RARA). The RARA delineates the services for which an attorney can charge extra. Many firms rely on these “extra” services to make their practice flourish but often the clients are unaware of the fees they are required to pay. To view the RARA agreement click HERE. At the Law Office of Michael Poole, I take great care to avoid these extra charges. If I need to charge extra due to the complexity of the case, I will discuss this early on with the client and fully explain the nature of these charges and why they are necessary. I would only proceed with their knowledge and consent.
Seventh, my fees are reasonable
While my firm does not charge mill prices, every case that I evaluate is considered for complexity and issues that may arise. The fee charged will give you, the client, the best value for your money. Fairness and value are my top considerations when setting prices.
Will you give me a free initial consultation?
Yes. I don’t charge for the first meeting.
How much will bankruptcy cost me?
The cost of Chapter 7 bankruptcies depends on the complexity of your case.
Chapter 13 cases are usually double or triple the cost of a Chapter 7. Click here for details on our $0 Down chapter 13 bankruptcy special.
Mill operations will NOT charge less than these special offers, and often have hidden fees that are not made clear to clients upfront.
Are there any extra costs?
The following are the most typical additional costs that may apply:
All clients must take two government required classes. The cost for both classes usually runs from $60 to $100. My office will provide you with a list of companies that offer this service at low cost.
Your credit report must be available to the bankruptcy attorney. This can usually be obtained for free. If paying for these reports, the cost is typically about $25.
In some cases where real estate is involved (particularly in lien-stripping cases) an appraisal or broker opinion letter is required. This will usually cost somewhere between $100 and $300.
Finally, the Bankruptcy Court charges a filing fee. The fee is currently $306 for a Chapter 7 and $281 for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.