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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Initial contact with attorney before bankruptcy filing

The number of times you meet with your attorney or his/her staff with vary a great deal depending on the practices of that particular office and how they run their calendar. We try to get it all finished up in 1 meeting...my clients most often will download our document package for prospective clients from our website. Amongst other things the "meat" of it is a client worksheet, a budget to fill out and a document checklist so they know what to bring in for paperwork. However...some folks might just have one or two burning issues they need answered first so I have two ways that I do consults. If someone has just a few questions before they want to invest all the time in the work it takes to put all the information for a good thorough case analysis together...then we talk over the phone or they come into the office for 20 - 30 minutes. At that point if they determine it may make good sense for them to file we do a follow up consult. That consult is the same as the one that we do if someone from the get-go knows that they want to seriously pursue a bankruptcy filing. They fill out all the forms, gather the documents we've indicated we need and then come in for a thorough case analysis. I block them for two hours...sometimes they go longer if it a complicated chapter 13 or a business related case. Usually that is enough face time to go through it (or we often do it over the telephone if that is more convenient for our clients..either way works) all as long as my clients provide me the info. Then the need to meet again is fairly minimal. At the conclusion of the meeting we give them a "homework sheet" for whatever they may have forgotten to bring or if it appears we need more documentation. Then it's a matter of putting the draft together and emailing it to them for review. We also go over what to expect at the hearing at that time. However, during the interval between the time the case is filed and the hearing is held they get reminders on what to expect there both by email and telephonically by one of my staff the day prior to the hearing. That would be the typical track for clients and their main contact with the office. Of course, if there are other questions or concerns that crop up clients are free to call, send us inquiries via email and quite often they stop by with no need to schedule an appointment if it is just a quick question. That is the model we've come up with...the internet has made it significantly easier to communicate with clients and most of my folks have internet access.

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