I used to joke with colleagues that we needed to advertise fixing cheap bankruptcies. This was a few years ago when the mortgage boom was still going strong and the bankruptcy bar was a lot smaller than it is today. There were still a few beginners and those who styled themselves as general practitioners who would try anything. Every now and then we’d see an unfortunately represented individual getting raked over the coals by a Trustee who was just doing their job, while their attorney sat by looking dumbstruck.
Fast forward a few years and the real estate market is in the tank, the economy has taken a huge hit, and bankruptcy filings were up for 4 years in a row. Suddenly there were attorneys everywhere who had never touched a bankruptcy before, and they were filing cases and generally making a mess of things. Then there were the “paralegal services.” These companies would promise cheap bankruptcies and have someone walk you through filing your own bankruptcy. They would give illegal legal advice. Say that five times fast.
Suddenly every Meeting of Creditors was clogged with problems. I’d say that the trustees got frustrated, but many were too busy making money to mind too much.
This glut of bad service had a couple of ripple effects. First, it drove prices for consumer bankruptcies back down from the higher levels of the post Reform levels. This is good, right? Not entirely. Many competent attorneys left the practice entirely for corporate bankruptcy work or creditor work, to make ends meet. This further diluted the “talent” pool of qualified lawyers.
That’s when fixing a cheap bankruptcy stopped being a running joke. There may not be a lot that can be done, but if your attorney is in over their head and you need help. Get it.
There is an old saying, you get what you pay for. When it comes to your financial future, invest well. There are still a lot of good bankruptcy attorneys in Baltimore. You can get a good cheap bankruptcy attorney in Baltimore and you could get a really bad Bankruptcy attorney regardless of price.
At the Grafton Firm, we believe in making our services affordable. We do that by cutting our own expenses, not by cutting corners in your case.
About the Author: William Grafton is a Maryland Bankruptcy Lawyer and Co-Owner of the Grafton Firm, LLC. He has written, lectured, and educated on credit related topics for nearly 10 years and is happy to be bringing his expertise to the Baltimore Metro area.