Monday, March 24, 2014

St. Johns County Bankruptcy Attorney did a quick search on Google of bankruptcy attorneys in St. Johns County, Florida. This is because I recently opened an office in Green Cove Springs (GCS), Florida. While Ponte Vedra Beach and St. Augustine are in St. Johns County, there is a large population that resides in the county, outside of any city limits.

How would a person in the country pick a bankruptcy attorney. For those unfamiliar with GCS, it is walking distance from St. Johns County.  Both Clay County (where GCS is located) and St. Johns County have few attorneys practicing in the area of bankruptcy. This caused me to peruse the question of how would someone would pick a bankruptcy attorney?

When searching for the best attorney for filing bankruptcy, you should look at more than just price. In fact, price is probably the last thing you should look at. 

Have you ever shopped for a good bottle of wine. Quite often price has nothing to do with the quality of the wine. Of course, I am not talking about the gut buster cheap stuff. But of the moderately priced wines, you need to know your wine to select one that meets your expectations. You could get an overpriced wine that has you walk away with a bad taste in your mouth.

Attorneys are not unlike wine in many ways. I suggest you should look at
  1. the attorney's experience,
  2. continuing education, and
  3. organization affiliations.
The experience has to do with the number of years of practice before sitting judges and familiar with case law within your jurisdiction. The law is always changing in every field of law, and bankruptcy is no exception. This is why continuing education is so important. That is also why membership in local bar associations and national associations is important.  It is easy to search for national organizations that cater to fields of law.  For consumer bankruptcy, it is the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

Also look at surrounding counties, or nearby cities. Sometimes a short drive will reward you with an attorney with more experience, more individualized attention, and a better price. This is not just relevant to bankruptcy, but also probate, criminal law, family law, or any other practice of law you can think of. When you get into areas of practice that are highly specialized, like an attorney that specializes in zombi nuclear holocaust law (imagine that might be a specialty somewhere), you might want to look a little further than just your nearby county.

If you have some ideas of how to pick a good ... no, Great Attorney, please let me know.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Price Increases Set For June 2014, it appears the Court is increasing fees again.  Recently the Court raised fees, followed by a shifting of having Debtor's attorneys mailing Orders (ultimately an extra expense for Debtors), to the Court cutting back on staff.  Now the fees are again being increased.

Please see the email correspondence I recently received.  
(PLEASE REMEMBER, I'm just the Messenger)

The Judicial Conference of the United States met on March 11, 2014, and approved changes to the Bankruptcy Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule effective June 1, 2014. A summary of those changes follow: 

The fee for filing a complaint increases to $350.00.
The following administrative fees are increased to the totals noted:
- For the filing of a petition under Chapter 7, 12, or 13, $75.00.
- For the filing of a petition under Chapter 9, 11, or 15, $550.00.
- When a motion to divide a joint case under Chapter 7, 12, or 13 is filed, $75.00.
- When a motion to divide a joint case under Chapter 11 is filed, $550.00.

As a consequence the increases effective June 1, 2014, the full fee for filing a -
Chapter 7 will be $335.00
Chapter 9 will be $1,717.00
Chapter 11 will be $1,717.00 12 will be $275.00
Chapter 13 will be $310.00
Chapter 15 will be $1,717.00
So, what is the change for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Filers?

For Chapter 7, the fee is increased from $306.00 to $335.00.
For Chapter 13, the fee is increased from $281.00 to $310.00.

That's right, a $29.00 increase.

If you feel like giving me your feedback on this, I certainly understand.  Do you think there should be a limit as to what the filing fees should be to file bankruptcy?