The old saying of “you get what you pay for” holds true in law as in every other aspect of your life. We understand that anyone contemplating bankruptcy does not have a lot of disposable money on hand to pay for an attorney. However, if you are shopping around and you are basing your decision solely on price, you need to make sure you compare “Apples to Apples” in order to make a fully informed decision.
FULL REPRESENTATION LAW FIRM
The Law Office of Weselis &Suchoparek LLC, The Fast Filers, is a full representation law firm. We compassionately guide each of our clients through the entire bankruptcy process from start to finish. During your initial interview at our office, we will explain the entire bankruptcy process you will go through. We work with each of our clients to build solid bankruptcy petitions and schedules. We believe in open communication with each of our clients to keep them informed about the status of their case. Moreover, one of our attorneys will appear in court at each and every mandatory court hearing with our clients and prepare each client for the hearings well in advance. Our firm files all necessary paperwork, attends all mandatory court hearings, and follows up with the Court and our clients on a regular basis. Not all Colorado bankruptcy attorneys provide full legal representation, and those who do often charge an additional fee.
It is unfortunate that we must make this distinction between full representation and assisted bankruptcy attorneys; however, within the past few years there has been a surge of “Lawyers” offering “Assisted Bankruptcies.” In “assisted bankruptcy” filings, the attorney fills out a few forms and then points you in the direction of the Court House to file the case yourself. You are not represented by an attorney!
If you file an “assisted bankruptcy” case, you do not have any attorney to watch out for you or your interests when issues arise, and the attorney you paid for is essentially off the hook as he or she IS NOT your attorney on record. And issues do arise! We have seen individuals lose cars, homes and other assets that could have been protected if they were represented throughout the entire bankruptcy process.
With an assisted bankruptcy NO ONE appears with and represents you in Court, NO ONE personally answers your questions and NO ONE personally prepares you for what questions you will be asked in court. Yes, attorneys who prepare “assisted bankruptcies” advertise lower prices than what most reputable firms charge. On the other hand, when issues do arise these attorneys will charge you an outrageous hourly rate that can cost you thousands of dollars for their future work. Within the first half hour, you are probably exceeding what your entire case would have cost you with our guaranteed flat fee retainer. So by trying to save a few hundreds dollars on the front-end of his or her case, a person may end up spending thousands. We tend to think of this as a bait-and-switch tactic, and thus the buyer needs to beware of comparing “Apples to Oranges” when looking for a competent bankruptcy attorney.
NO GIMMICKS OR GAMES
Our firm takes the filing of bankruptcy very seriously, and we also realize that our clients do not take lightly the decision to file for bankruptcy protection. This is an important personal and emotional time that is serious and should not be trusted to amateurs. We do not play carnival games or raffle off prizes in the hopes of luring new clients to our office, which has unfortunately become a common practice among many attorneys that are new the bankruptcy field. Our office staff treats each and every client with full respect and works hard to ensure that our clients have successful bankruptcy cases. Competence, professionalism, compassion and respect are the qualities that set our firm apart from others.
CUTTING EDGE EXPERIENCE
With these difficult economic times and the constant reminder of such in the media, it is understandable why there has been a flood of attorneys jumping into the bankruptcy field thinking they can make a quick buck without the experience necessary to do a competent job. Some of these attorneys have never litigated any case–let alone a bankruptcy case–and probably never plan to. Many of them believe that all bankruptcies are “easy” and very routine. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Their philosophy focuses on volume and making as much money as possible by doing the least amount of legal work possible.
For example, during my time living in the Midwest, I observed that after a major hail storm it was amazing how many dent removal companies sprung up overnight in every shopping center parking lot. Within a few weeks, these fly-by-night companies were chasing another storm in a different area trying to chase the money. This analogy is the same in law: many less-experienced attorneys are flooding into the bankruptcy law practice for the wrong reason – money. Our attorneys have been working exclusively in realm of Bankruptcy practice since 2002 and love this area of the law because it allows us to help individuals.
We realize that although our firm files many bankruptcies a year, this will probably be the first and last time you plan on filing for bankruptcy protection; thus, we will educate you about the process and explain various scenarios to ensure that you will make an informed decision.
Both attorneys at our law office have worked for Federal Bankruptcy Judges in very prestigious and coveted positions. As such, they understand what happens behind the scenes and have built personal and working relationships with Trustees, Judges, and other experienced attorneys during their work throughout the years. In addition, our attorneys are routinely asked to sit on conference panels with local Colorado Bankruptcy Judges and are regularly interviewed on local TV discussing current bankruptcy topics. Our attorneys have litigated numerous issues on behalf of our clients and have published case opinions, as many of the issues we handle and arguments we make are on the cutting edge of bankruptcy law. Again, this only comes with experience.
As previously mentioned, you will probably only plan on filing one bankruptcy in your lifetime and we always tell our clients that even dentists need their first client. However, would you be willing to be the first patient of a dentist to have a cavity filled or a tooth crowned, just to save a few hundred dollars? We certainly would not!
WE GO OUT OF OUR WAY FOR PERFECTION
Unlike many other bankruptcy law firms, we take the extra step in every aspect of your case to ensure no problems arise. With our firm you get more work done on your case behind the scenes that even you will not be aware of.
For instance, some bankruptcy law firms only list the creditors on your credit report. This is a good start, but with experience, we know that many open debts do not appear on credit reports. For example, many medical debts, dental procedures, movie rentals, business loans and personal loans do not report to the credit reporting agencies. In bankruptcy, if a debt is not listed in your case there is a good chance it will not be discharged, and this failure to report all debt could jeopardize the success of the entire bankruptcy. Because of this, we double- and triple-check all our sources to make sure everything is listed. Yes, this takes more time, but we believe after all is said and done it is worth it to ensure all of your debt is wiped out.
Oftentimes, other bankruptcy firms only list one address for a creditor, as listing additional addresses takes time and they are not willing to invest the time needed to ensure proper notice. However, credit card companies are sometimes deceitful and they routinely change their PO Box addresses. This is intentionally done so they can assert ignorance of bankruptcy filings. Our office notifies each creditor, at all known addresses, to limit the likelihood of this argument. This takes more time, but we feel our clients are worth this extra effort. By going this extra mile, we ensure that if a creditor continues its collection attempts after a bankruptcy is filed, we have eliminated all arguments they will likely assert about lack of notice, and we tee up a great lawsuit to pursue against the creditor on your behalf.
WE CARE ABOUT YOU
When you contact our office, your call will always be answered by a paralegal or one of the attorneys. Unlike some other Colorado bankruptcy firms, we do not let most existing client phone calls go to voice mail while only answering the new client calls. This is unfair to our clients and we have set policies in place at our office to ensure every question is answered by an individual. If for some reason the question cannot be answered immediately, you have our guarantee that we will attempt to make a return call within 48 business hours. The managing attorneys hand pick the perfect paralegals that fit our firm’s established goals. No one in this office will ever judge any client on his or her situation, and each staff member takes great pride in guiding our clients through this very difficult time in their lives. Our firm’s ultimate goal is being successful in discharging your debt.
POST DISCHARGE OF YOUR DEBTS
Unlike some other Colorado bankruptcy firms, once your case has gone through the courts and you are debt-free, we do not stop communicating with you. We routinely follow up with our clients to ensure all their creditors are obeying the Court Orders and their credit reports are reporting correctly. If we see something that is not right, we may represent you on a contingent fee retainer to sue the creditors that are acting illegally. This means we receive a portion of what is recovered and it will not cost you anything out of pocket to pursue such claims. It is always a pleasure to represent a client to wipe out their debts and then have contemptuous creditors not follow the courts orders and end up paying our clients for their wrong doing. We aggressively pursue these creditors, who for too long have been allowed to disregard court orders and harass clients even years after their cases were discharged.
We know that other Colorado Bankruptcy Law Firms have differing philosophies in their representation of clients. If price is still your ultimate and only determining factor after reading what sets our firm apart from the others, then our office may not be for you and we wish you good luck. However, if you want peace of mind that your bankruptcy is done right, with the professional, experienced and compassionate staff to guide you through this difficult time in your life, then please give us a call to discuss your options today. You can be totally debt free in as little as 90 days.
We look forward to working with you,
Michael Suchoparek, Esq.