Dress appropriately for your creditor meeting. The other day I had a number of clients scheduled for creditor meetings in Cleveland. I arrive for the first one early, and the clients are already in the meeting room. To my amazement both the husband and wife wore short sleeve shirts, shorts and athletic shoes. What is most surprising to me is that this is a professional couple.
The chapter 7 trustee called the case. He went immediately for the throat. He wanted to know if the clients were on their way to a tennis match. It might have been funny if his tone was friendlier. The trustee was just plain angry. The meeting went fine, but there was clear tension in the air.
Why? The creditor meeting is an important administrative hearing, and an integral part of the bankruptcy process. In Cleveland it is in the bankruptcy courthouse. The United States Trustee in Cleveland has actually set forth dress guidelines for attorneys and clients.
You want your meeting of creditors to go well. Heck, I do, you do, and the trustee does too. You walk into the meeting room. Before he asks you the first question, how you are dressed conveys something about you. It’s a courthouse, dress appropriately. We all understand that you are having money problems. No one expects you to go out and buy new clothes for this one appearance. A few things to consider:
- Long pants. Jeans are OK but slacks are better.
- A sport coat will dress up any pair of trousers.
- No shorts.
- A shirt with a collar.
- A tee shirt conveys a poor image, especially if it has writing on it.
- Clean shoes, avoid flip flops.
- Try to conceal tattoos.
- Whatever you choose make sure it is neat and clean.
- This is not a clothing item; swallow the gum before you go in.
How you dress does make a difference in a court proceeding. About 15 years ago I was in criminal court in Lorain County. My client was standing before the judge for sentencing. The judge has a presentence report in front of him with the client’s whole life in a nutshell. The first words out of the judge’s mouth were: “Aren’t you the guy who wore a yellow suit at the time of the plea?”
Be remembered for:
- Your honesty.
- the sad circumstances of you case
- the way you held your head high when questioned
- your clear speaking
- your character in the face hard times
Don’t let all you are go to waste over what you pulled out of a drawer to wear to your creditor meeting.
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