Bankruptcy Attorneys Have Spent Many Hours In Specialized Bankruptcy Training.
Video Transcribed: Edward Kelley here from 888 debt line answering your bankruptcy questions. So today I’ll answer a question I get a lot. Do I really need a lawyer to do my bankruptcy? My quick answer is absolutely yes. The more PC answer or lawyer answer is always, it depends. And that’s true to an extent. However, for almost everyone trying to file your own bankruptcy is an almost insurmountable task. And I can tell you that the trustees won’t like it because they’ll have to be explaining the law every step of the way.
So obviously lawyers went to three years of extra school and people who practice bankruptcy have often spent many, many more hours in specialized bankruptcy training in order to file these things. Chapter sevens, and to an even greater extent, chapter thirteens are extremely labor-intensive in terms of the math that’s required, the length of the pleadings.
An average chapter seven petition, which is the simplest bankruptcy, is 40 plus pages. You’ve got to do a statement of financial affairs, a means test, a declaration of intention. Probably you’re not, a bankruptcy journey, your head’s already spinning.
So the quick answer is, although of course it would be cheaper for someone to just try to do it themselves. I’m not sure that it would be cheaper in the long run because most of the people I’ve seen try to do it themselves, end up giving up and hiring an attorney anyway after having spent all that time.
And a little secret, all of us, except the most traditional guys from 30, 40 years ago who just still do it the old way, use computer programs that automate the pleadings. And these are pretty expensive programs that we can only afford due to the volume of clients that we have and the amount of petitions that we produce.
So they’re not cost effective. Certainly not for somebody trying to do their own bankruptcy. But if you don’t have one of these programs, you’re going to be typing out by hand or word processor in Word or WordPerfect, probably 60 or 70 pages worth of documents, and it’s not likely you’re going to get it right the first time.
So much as you may not want to, my advice to any of you who want to do the bankruptcy themselves, and we call that appearing pro se, for those of you that want to try that, I’m just going to give you a little advice. Unless you’re prepared for a major, major effort that may not be successful, think twice and maybe go ahead and hire me or hire some bankruptcy attorney to take care of it for you.