By David J. Kelly, Minnesota Bankruptcy Lawyer since 1976
Recently I had a bankruptcy case where a seemingly small and innocent circumstance turned up after the case was filed. It seemed normal to my client at the time and certainly not dishonest in any way. It wasn’t illegal, immoral or fattening. It just happened, however, to be one of those things which can run afoul of some of the more nonsensical provisions of the bankruptcy code.
I could have just said well that’s too bad and let things land wherever. Fixing the situation was probably beyond the scope of what I had signed on for in my retainer agreement. Many of the larger law firms, particularly the mills that crank out large volumes of cases for cheap, would have just let it go. Lawyers don’t promise that everything will be perfect; we don’t promise that nothing will go wrong. Sometimes it’s just too bad, isn’t it?
But that kind of approach is just not how I do things. I really care about the outcome of my work and I really care about my clients. I just could not let it go. It would, and actually did, keep me awake at night. I started asking my client more questions, started asking for more documentation, more history. I explained that there was a problem, but I was aware of two or three exceptions, loopholes if you like, and I was determined to find one that fit.
I found what I was looking for and put it together for presentation to the bankruptcy trustee. When I was finished, the trustee agreed with me that the issue was settled in my client’s favor and the case should proceed in the usual boring way.
“If you have $70,000 in debt, why do you care ‘how much does it cost?’ Talk about being penny wise and pound foolish. Whatever the bankruptcy attorney charges, if the attorney takes care of you and eliminates as many of your debts as legally possible, protects your assets, and answers your questions, price is immaterial. When “how much” is someone’s first question to me, I get rid of them as soon as I can because they are telling me they don’t value what I do and will have to learn the hard way that NOTHING IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN A CHEAP LAWYER.” Quoted with Ms. Bunce’s permission.
That sure as heck says it all.
This response is for general purposes only, is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. I am a debt relief agency. I help people file for relief under the federal bankruptcy code.