In part 1 we learned that filing bankruptcy without an attorney is risky business. Now let’s take a look at more reasons to run out and hire an attorney ASAP.
A Good Attorney’s not Free, and a Free Attorney’s not Good
Still want to try it on your own? Here are some recent statistics about filing bankruptcy without an attorney.
Over 90% of chapter 13 cases filed without an attorney are dismissed by the court.
When a chapter 13 is filed by an attorney, only 15% are dismissed.
Almost 20% of chapter 7 cases filed without an attorney are either dismissed or are converted to a chapter 13 case, meaning the bankruptcy filer is forced to pay back some of his or her debt through a court-based payment plan.
Less than 2% of chapter 7 cases filed by an attorney are either dismissed or converted to chapter 13.
Another thing to consider is that attorneys often have a case voluntarily dismissed or converted from a chapter 7 to a chapter 13 as an intentional strategy. Those who file without an attorney almost never file with the intent to have a case converted or dismissed, because it’s a complex legal strategy that would be beyond the scope of most people who file on their own. The statics above don’t reflect the fact that a lot of cases filed by an attorney that are dismissed or converted are done so for a reason, and are not detrimental to the filer’s bankruptcy plan.
A Losing Gamble
Here’s a final thought. Depending on where you live, your attorney’s experience, and the particulars of your case, you could easily spend up to $2,000 or more on attorney fees. But even the simplest bankruptcy cases tend to eliminate at least $20,000 in debt. In most cases far more debt is eliminated. So if you keep the big picture in mind, you’ll realize that the cost of a good attorney isn’t much compared to the amount of debt you stand to eliminate when you file.