Assisted Chapter 7s
In the summer of 2006, Morse Law, LLC sought to correct what we believed was a lacking within our bankruptcy system. While the procedures surrounding bankruptcy had certainly gotten more complicated in recent years, many of the cases seeking relief had not. In some bankruptcies, the debtor does not really need a lawyer to be present with them post filing. In a simple case, a well drafted petition is enough to take care of a client from filing to discharge. As things stood though, there was no option for an attorney to enter a bankruptcy case simply as a drafter. To rectify this, M&A began offering a program called Attorney Assisted Bankruptcy Filings. Essentially, M&A would draft the petitions and clients would then be able to confidently file on their own. Over the years, we have increased our role, but not our fees, by also filing the assisted petitions electronically on behalf of the clients and attending their 341 hearing.
While an Assisted Chapter 7 may sound wonderful, as it is cheaper for the client, ($500 as opposed to regular Chapter 7 representation which can range quite a bit based on how complex the case is) it is not always the best, or even the least expensive choice for a client. Regular representation covers everything from drafting, filing, 341 hearing attendance, and any post filing work that might be necessary to facilitate your discharge of debt. In an assisted 7 case, post filing work is not covered by the representation contract and as such, our attorneys will not put someone in an assisted 7 if they believe that there is a good chance of post filing work being needed. As we charge an industry standard $300/hr for this work, it is often much cheaper to file with regular representation which, at a flat rate, usually ends up being discounted from our hourly rate at approximately 70%.
A good Assisted 7 case is one where there are no (or very minimal) assets needing protection, there are no issues related to law suits or foreclosures (these two practically guarantee there is a lawyer on the other side so you should have one as well). Our regular representations are always priced well below the market averages. If you find a competent representation offered for less, then we encourage you to bring it to our attention – occasionally one does slip by our usually diligent eye.
The consulting attorney is the only person who can really tell you if an assisted 7 is right for your case, and that is only after having sat down with you for a full consultation. We understand that many clients want to know prior to this, but it is practically impossible, and in our opinion irresponsible, to give clients fee quotes prior to having viewed all necessary documents and asked all necessary questions. Similarly, phone consultations, which are offered by other firms, are in our opinion tantamount to malpractice and having reviewed the practices of other firms in this area, we find that those conducting phone consultations rarely if ever provide the client with any usable information – even more rarely is any usable information specific to your case.
If you think that your case would be a good candidate for an assisted 7, then I encourage you to contact our office to schedule a free consultation to find out for certain. The consulting attorney will be able to let you know what is your most cost effective option and best fit particular to you specific situation.