October 21, 2018

What do Bankruptcy Lawyers Do All Day Anyway

To my knowledge there has never been a television drama about bankruptcy lawyers (although there would certainly be a lot of possible story lines!).   So, as a rule, most people do not know what bankruptcy lawyers do all day long. 

Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyer Hale Antico answers this question accurately on his Los Angles Bankruptcy blog.  Hale’s experience, like mine, goes something like this:

  • Preparing an Objection to Proof of Claim for a Chapter 13 case where the pro se creditor thinks they should be a priority debt compared to a general unsecured non-priority claim. Of course, I needed a Declaration to go along with this for my client, the debtor.
  • Researching and negotiating a claim for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy where the Los Angeles Chapter 13 Trustee thinks that it might be unfair discrimination between claims in the same class to pay one nondischargeble claim 100% compared to the others.
  • Responding to a letter from the United States Trustee questioning whether a client should be entitled to a Chapter 7 discharge based on prior income.
  • Replying to a creditor who is very curious about massive credit card spending the debtor in another Chapter 7 case did prior to filing bankruptcy. There may be an adversary proceeding here on 11 USC 523.
  • Answering a bunch of questions from existing clients who, after hiring me to let ther house go in foreclosure during the bankruptcy, are now suddenly prey to realtors and real estate agents who want to “help them” with a quick sale and why bankruptcy is better than a short sale.
  • Personally reviewed a bankruptcy petition (you know, the simple bankruptcy forms) with a client before we both signed it and I file bankruptcy for him.
  • Preparing for court on Tuesday where I’m helping three clients get their cases “confirmed” at their Confirmation Hearings at the bankruptcy court (do we have the mortgage declarations? the plan payments? did we satisfy the Chapter 13 trustee’s requests for business expenses and short form?).

I can add to this list:

  • responding to email from a self employed client who is currently in Chapter 13, and who wants a dramatic reduction in monthly plan payments
  • responding to email from Chapter 13 client who now wants to convert to Chapter 7
  • calling Chapter 7 client whose 341 hearing is later this week to remind him to bring his ID’s
  • responding to potential client emails
  • replying to a blog or web site visitor who wants clarification of a point
  • answering email questions from blog readers

I recently appeared before one of the bankruptcy judges in the northern district of Georgia to request a somewhat higher than normal fee for a Chapter 13.  I found it somewhat cathartic to be able to explain to the judge that even "simple" Chapter 13 cases take up huge amounts of time because of the endless document requests and correspondence with the client, creditors and the trustee.

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