“How can I be your best bankruptcy client?” This is one of two questions recently posed to me. Every Cleveland bankruptcy attorney can tell you about his worst client. That one is simple. Rarely when you visit a Cleveland bankruptcy lawyer are you at your best. The normal client will be extremely emotional as we begin to talk. No matter what I do at some point you ask for the tissue box. My purpose is to get you beyond these feelings. Some just will not move beyond the “victim mentality.”
The worst client will:
- disappear for months at a time
- fail to honor the payment agreement
- neglect the responsibility to keep pay stubs current
- appear out of the blue with a fistful of cash and a garnishment letter or sheriff sale notice demanding immediate action.
Cathy Moran, an attorney in California once commented to me about this type of customer: “Their failure to pay attention to their obligations is not my emergency.” I do not take that approach with clients who fall off the face of the earth, only to reappear when the wolves are at the door. Some times I am extremely busy with clients who are current in their commitment. At those times you may have to wait your turn. It’s a question of simple fairness.
The question about how to be my best chapter 7 bankruptcy client initially took me off guard. I thought I had heard everything in 14 years of bankruptcy practice. This was a first. The client is a regular working man with some pressing collection issues, much like anyone. The real difference is that he has positioned himself as part of the solution, not part of the problem.
How you can be my best chapter 7 bankruptcy client:
- call a day ahead of time if you can’t make an appointment.
- Plan to arrive for appointments at least 15 min early
- When you hired me you set up, and committed to a payment plan. Meet it.
- Keep your documents current
- If you get a request from Nancy or the petition preparer follow through
The two keys to success with your chapter 7 bankruptcy case boil down to money and documents. Congress says I can’t file your case until the attorney fees are paid in full. Not the way I want it. It’s the way it is. The documents are needed to prepare the case. After filing I have to submit the pay stubs or pay advices for the last 60 days to the court. That is why missing stubs don’t cut it. I have to email your most recent tax return to the chapter 7 case trustee no later that 7 days prior to the meeting of creditors. Some chapter 7 case trustees want even more paper either before the meeting of creditors, or they want you to bring it with you.
See, money and documents. If I have these two things, I have your cooperation. When we are cooperating, we are a team. You can be my best chapter 7 bankruptcy client and I can be your best Cleveland bankruptcy attorney.
If you like this question, wait till you hear his other one.
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