Some Cleveland bankruptcy attorneys advertise a $395 minimum attorney fee in the Sunday newspaper. It is right there on the front page of the classified section in a listing called, “Professional Services.” Four different Cleveland bankruptcy attorneys list a minimum fee of $395. Is this real? Can you believe it? Is it just too good to be true?
I went online to examine the most recent bankruptcy petitions filed by each of these lawyers. None of their most recent filings have a fee of $395. You would think that an advertisement of attorney fees so low for a bankruptcy case would result in nearly every case they file being at this level. Why not? Here are a few possibilities:
The old bait and switch!
You’ve heard of the bait and switch haven’t you? Do you think it only happens when a car dealer advertises they are selling cars to the first 50 customers for $395? You need a car. You go through the sofa cushions searching for change. You manage to put together $395 and rush out the door to the car lot. When you arrive salesman says you are number 51, but I have a more expensive car right over here, and it’s perfect for you. Could the same thing be happening in a lawyer’s office? You would expect if their fees were this low, every case filed would have a $395 Cleveland bankruptcy attorney fee. They don’t. But, it did get you into the office, didn’t it?
The minimum bankruptcy fee is just an add on
There is discussion on the Internet that some lawyers begin a representation process by offering to negotiate a modification of your home mortgage. Lawyers can charge thousands of dollars for this service knowing that it destined to fail. Once that happens your only option is to file bankruptcy. It is easy for an attorney to look like a hero after he has taken thousands of your dollars for nothing when he offers to do your bankruptcy for just another $395. I have no reason to believe this is what is happening with Cleveland bankruptcy attorneys, and I would be very disappointed to discover otherwise.
The minimum bankruptcy fee is for only a shell filing
If you are in a position where you need to have a bankruptcy filed yesterday the court has an option for you. It is called a shell filing. A Cleveland bankruptcy attorney files a shell petition when he just submits the petition itself along with a creditor matrix. You and the attorney then have 20 days to file the remaining forms, schedules, and documents. This process is available to stop garnishments, bank attachment, and Lorain County and Cuyahoga County foreclosure sales. At the Balena law firm I prefer not to file shell cases. Even the best clients take weeks or even months to come up with all the documents necessary to succeed in a Cleveland chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Filing a shell is only setting you up for failure. It is quite possible that for $395 you are only getting a shell with additional fees to be added later to complete the bankruptcy.
Minimum Fess Are Forbidden in Ohio
One thing you need to know now is that the rules of professional conduct which all Ohio licensed attorneys must follow prohibit minimum fees. Lawyers are simply not permitted to charge them. So why advertise them? Think it might be to suck you into their office? It ‘s time that you become a responsible consumer, and not fall for the $395 Cleveland bankruptcy attorney minimum fee lie. The fact of the matter is you only get what you pay for, and $395 cannot pay for an ethical Cleveland bankruptcy attorney. If the Attorney cuts a corner here, where else is it going to happen?