In many consumer bankruptcy law firms, the overriding idea is to get as many people to “sign up” as possible. And, with that approach, the bigger bankruptcy firms, especially in large metro areas, become “bankruptcy mills”. The attorneys are mostly young, and the firms advertise relentlessly on TV and online. The firms may advertise a low, low price for bankruptcy cases with fine print, saying the fees start at a certain amount, for simple cases.
When clients sign up with the bankruptcy mill, they first go into a room to fill out paperwork, then, they are interviewed by one person, possibly a paralegal, and then see a first attorney. Then, they are told what their case is about, and told how much the case will cost, and documents they might need to bring in again. They see another person later to sign their documents, and yet another person at their court hearing. This is the “cookie cutter” approach. It assumes that every person’s case is basically the same, and is “one size fits all”. The client gets a certain amount of time devoted to their case and that’s it.
Is every person’s case the same? No. Are you a cookie? No. Are there simple cases? No. In the 25 plus years I’ve been an attorney, I’ve never seen two identical cases. And, nobody’s case is simple. Some people may have fewer legal issues, but they are all different cases. Why? Because, beyond the facts and figures, beyond the debts and assets, they are all attached to different people, with unique situations. Two people may have very similar financial situations, but have totally different ways to solve their problems. When I meet with a client, I go into the “real” facts, such as what the person’s financial goals are. You could be a business owner, or a single mom, or a divorced dad. You could need a Chapter 7, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, or some debt negotiations. It depends on your needs.
In my law firm, each client meets with a lawyer that will be in charge of their case from beginning to end, one contact person, that you can always get ahold of. We strive to respond to client calls and emails within 24 hours. And, with a small firm like ours, you’ll always know who you are talking to, every step of the way. We take the time to get to know you as a person, and not just as one of many cases. Our goal is to help you fix your financial life, not just to file another case.
We offer a free, in-person consultation, with an attorney, who will figure out who you are and what your goals are. Don’t settle for one-size fits all. Nobody’s case is a cookie-cutter case!
Daniel J. Winter
Offices in Chicago, Gurnee, Oak Lawn, and Skokie, Illinois