June 10, 2020
Why Should I Use an Attorney in My District?
A person filing bankruptcy has essentially three options:
- Prepare the case on their own and represent themselves “Pro Se.”
- Use a bankruptcy petition preparer and then represent themselves “Pro Se.”
- Use an attorney located in their district.
While lawyers generally have a bad reputation – and often for good reason – there really is no substitute for getting a lawyer to handle a bankruptcy.
Preparing and Filing Your Own Case “Pro Se.”
Grainger Legal Services, LLC reaches out to people who have made the mistake of filing their own bankruptcy case. These cases normally end up getting dismissed or an attorney gets hired after it is filed to straighten it out. Properly preparing the forms and schedules requires a solid understanding of bankruptcy law. In addition, each Bankruptcy Court district has developed its own practices and methods which make it even more daunting to go it alone.
“He who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.” – Proverb
There can be serious consequences to filing a bankruptcy case improperly. There are strong limitations on refiling bankruptcy cases. Intentionally failing to disclose information or improper use of the bankruptcy process could potentially lead to serious criminal charges or prevent you from ever getting relief on those debts again.
If you have already filed your case “Pro Se,” we suggest you contact a qualified bankruptcy attorney as quickly as possible and let them do damage control. Our firm is pleased to help people who have made the mistake of filing their own case but time is critical.
Bankruptcy Petition Preparers
These also rarely succeed and often cost about as much as hiring an attorney. We’ve seen some who cost more. The internet is full of scams preying on desperate people. If your petition preparer is out-of-state, it is unlikely that you will be able to hold them accountable for messing-up your case. They often cross the line into practicing law without a license and get investigated by our Bankruptcy Administrator’s office.
It doesn’t help you to get caught-up in the middle of an investigation and still have a messed-up case. Otherwise, the risks are the same as preparing it yourself addressed above.
If you have made the mistake of using a bankruptcy petition preparer to prepare your case, we make the same suggestion made above – that you contact a qualified bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible because time is of the essence in that attorney doing damage control. Our firm is pleased to help people in this situation as well.
Using an Attorney Located in Your District
Your case needs to be filed in the District in which your residence is located. For a map of Alabama showing our federal court districts, view Where Should I File?
We recommend using an attorney licensed by both the State Bar Association and the federal court in your District. Otherwise, that attorney’s representation of you may be improper.
For information about locating and choosing an attorney, view How Should I Select an Attorney?
Contact a Knowledgeable Bankruptcy Lawyer
Charles Grainger is an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can advise you on whether bankruptcy or any bankruptcy alternatives are appropriate for you. We can suggest long-term solutions to your financial troubles depending on your particular situation. At Grainger Legal Services, we represent clients from our offices located in Montgomery, Prattville, and Troy in order to help people in South-Central Alabama “get out of the hole.” Call us at (334) 260-0500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.