What Do I Need to Know Before I Hire a Bankruptcy Attorney?
[TRANSCRIPT] I get probably thirty calls a week from potential clients that have been sued by creditors or debt collectors, credit card companies, mortgage companies, auto loan finance companies; any number of creditors--student loan creditors. And one of the most common questions I get is, should I file bankruptcy? At our firm... we don't do bankruptcy work, we actually encourage people to not file bankruptcy because it’s my firm’s belief - that bankruptcy is abused. People file bankruptcy typically because they don't know that they have other options, and so the first big thing that I would recommend that you do before contacting a bankruptcy attorney is; know what your options are. If you're filing because of a lawsuit by a creditor, there are options. Through my firm, we fight debt collectors. We do that through litigation not through bankruptcy so we actually respond to the lawsuit and fight those lawsuits in court and win - so that my clients don't need bankruptcy protection at all.
So first-- again, know what your options are, know if debt collection defense - which is what I do - is an option for you. A lot of my clients that come to me, or potential clients that come to me, are concerned about filing bankruptcy because they either have security clearances or special licenses or for whatever reason-- in their job, a bankruptcy filing would jeopardize their employment. And that's obviously a huge concern. So in a case like that, debt collection defense-- litigating that case is a much better alternative…and I'll tell you there are three reasons why litigating typically is a better alternative.
1. One is that, the cost of our fees are typically less than the cost of filing bankruptcy. In addition to that we split our fees up over several months and most bankruptcy attorneys don't do that. So the biggest advantage in hiring my firm over a bankruptcy firm is that, it costs less.
2. The second big reason that you would hire my firm is that we tend-- typically after winning a case - to make it so that you don't owe anything to the creditor. We litigate these cases and we win. We don’t settle but we actually win so that you don't owe a dime to the creditor. And so with most or a lot of bankruptcy filings there still is a payment plan or a restructuring plan that's in place where you still pay back the creditor. So that again the second big benefit is that you may end up owing the creditor nothing.
3. The third big benefit is the increase, or the boost to your credit score. So again when we win these cases outright, they typically come with either a settlement agreement or a court order by a judge that says that the creditor never had the right to collect the debt in the first place. And therefore, the creditor either agrees to remove the account from your credit report or you can potentially send a copy of that court order to the credit reporting agencies and have that account wiped from your credit report. Therefore, your credit score goes up, not down the way that it does with a bankruptcy filing.
I'm attorney Chuck Douglas we will help you fight back and win.