Submitted by Rachel R on Tue, 04/07/2015 - 11:25am
Should you try and act as your own bankruptcy lawyer?
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According to research by Credit Slips, roughly 10% of bankruptcy filers nationally file without an attorney. Representing yourself rather than using an attorney is called “pro se” and the percentage of consumers that choose to go this route for their Chapter 7 or 13 may be much higher or lower depending on the region. In some areas, as many as 30% of filers try to file without an attorney. While this is one way to save money, the results you get are far less reliable.
Results without an attorney in bankruptcy cases
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District in California conducted a study on how effective pro se bankruptcy filers were with their cases. They found that filers that used an attorney for their Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases obtained a discharge 95% of the time. By comparison, those who filed without an attorney only got a discharge in 61% of cases.
For Chapter 13 cases, the results were far more dire. Those who used an attorney got a discharge in 55% of cases compared to just 1% of those that filed pro se. While the discharge rate for Chapter 13 with an attorney may also seem low, one caveat to consider is that many file Chapter 13 with no intention of seeing it through to discharge either because they converted to Chapter 7 or because they only filed to stop a foreclosure or repossession.
Reasons to use a bankruptcy attorney for your case
If you're considering bankruptcy and are wondering if you should file on your own without an attorney's help, you should stop and think about it carefully. In addition to the high failure rates shown in research, there are other things to consider including:
Even if you've decided to file your bankruptcy pro se, you should still talk to an expert bankruptcy attorney. Contact the law offices of John T Orcutt if you live in North Carolina. We have offices in Greensboro, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Durham, Garner and Wilson. The first consultation is always free and we offer zero down bankruptcy plans. Call +1-919-646-2654 today.
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