November 25, 2017

Inside the Mind of a Bankruptcy Lawyer – Should I File and if so, Why Should I Choose Your Firm?

There are dozens of lawyers out there who offer to prepare and file bankruptcy cases.  Some work in high volume “bankruptcy mill” firms that compete on price while others compete on experience, knowledge and service.  Usually the cost differential is a few hundred dollars, but when you are considering bankruptcy, every dollar counts – so why would you want a lawyer like me as opposed to a firm that would offer to represent you for a lower price?

I could offer a glib answer like “if you needed brain surgery, would you look for the cheapest surgeon on the one with the most experience and industry recognition” but that does not really answer the question.  Perhaps it would be helpful if you could look over my shoulder as I analyze a real life situation that came before me recently.

Earlier this month an email arrived from a couple who wanted information about bankruptcy.  The wife wrote that she was a stay at home mom raising 2 children and that her husband lost his job about a year ago, and recently started back to work at a lower paying job.  Their current household income is just under $50,000.  They own a house that is now worth less than what they paid for it – the house is worth about $200,000 – the first mortgage is $210,000 and the second mortgage is $35,000.  They own one older car outright and are financing a mini-van.  They have also incurred around $25,000 of credit card debt – most of which was used trying to keep the mortgage current.

Earlier this year they fell behind on both the first and second mortgage.  The first mortgage lender started foreclosure proceedings, but suspended foreclosure and offered to consider my potential clients for a mortgage modification.  They have been making modified payments for several months but when they called the lender to ask if they had been approved for a permanent modification, the account rep told them that their modification paperwork had not been approved but that their application had been sent to another department for a reconsideration.  News of this decision had not been provided to my prospective clients – the only reason they found out was from their call.  No one from the mysterious reconsideration division was available and their multiple calls have not been returned for over 2 weeks.

They decided to contact me because they are getting the sense that the mortgage company is unlikely to approve their modification and they want to be prepared for a possible foreclosure.  What are their options? [Read more…]

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