Lawyers Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Fees Still Rising, Debtors Only Real Option to Afford Bankruptcy Today

BANKRUPT LAWYERS FEES STILL RISING IN CHAPTER 7, SO DEBTORS’ ONLY REALISTIC OPTION TO AFFORD FILING BANKRUPTCY TODAY MAY BE TO USE A PETITION PREPARER

The legal costs to prepare bankrupt petition, particularly using lawyers to do it, have continued to rise and rise since the U.S. Congress overhauled U.S. bankruptcy laws in 2005. These lawyers costs for bankruptcy have now progressively risen to the point where they have become simply too expensive for the American consumer filing for personal bankruptcy, according to several reports and studies made by the government and independent researchers. Indeed, so expensive that for a growing number of debtors, the lawyers fees for bankruptcy are PROHIBITIVELY expensive – that is, they are so high that, although those debtors fully qualify for and wish to file for bankruptcy protection, they are unable to file since they simply cannot afford it.

For starters, a report issued in July 2008 by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), said bankrupt lawyers’ fees for individuals who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy court protection, increased by 51% since the new law, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act or BAPCP, took effect in October 2005. By that report’s calculations, as of that time of that report, attorneys’ fees for bankruptcy had risen by slightly more than 50 percent of its previous pre-2005 law costs.

According to the said GAO report, since this new law, the average bankrupt lawyer’s fee for a Chapter 7 case – the simplest type of bankruptcy which involves the debtor’s assets, if at all he has any, being liquidated and his debts being wiped clean – climbed to $1,078 in February and March of 2007, as compared with $712 for the same period in 2005. For Chapter 13 type of bankruptcies – which is the type of bankruptcy which allows the debtor to develop a court-approved Repayment plan to repay the creditors – the attorney’s median fee for handling it rose to $3,000 in February 2008, from $2,000 just before the law was passed.

•So, what’s the bankruptcy filer’s option when you simply can’t afford the bankruptcy lawyer’s fees? Is it to prepare the bankrupt petition? To file without a lawyer? Or is it to file using a non-attorney expert such as a Petition Preparer Bankrupt?

According to many experts, such increased and heavier lawyers fees for bankruptcy, has created a significant hurdle for financially strapped individuals to be able to file for bankruptcy, or, even more importantly, for such debtors to be able to avail themselves of their Constitutional right to seek the bankruptcy protection guaranteed them as Americans under Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution mandating Congress “to establish uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States” for all qualified citizens.

“That [the increased legal costs] is a significant amount of money for the average American family, let alone a family on the verge of bankruptcy,” said University of Illinois law professor Robert Lawless. “It’s very possible to be too poor to be in bankruptcy because you can’t afford the filing.”

In effect, what it means is that practically the only thing that the 2005 “reform” bankruptcy law seem to have accomplished, is that it has made the bankruptcy lawyers richer.

It has, on the other hand, woefully failed in the task of attaining the primary mission for which it had ostensibly been enacted – namely, to curtail the rate of filing bankruptcy among the American consumers. As we speak today, Americans are experiencing a remarkable rate of one bankruptcy case being filed every 20 seconds, with well over 2 million Americans involved in the filing of bankruptcy in the 2008 fiscal year. Nationally, this represents a 20% increase over the already high levels in 2009. In Arizona, the increase was an astounding 52%. The Central District of California (Los Angeles) wasn’t far behind with an incredible increase of 48.2%

THE LOW COST ALTERNATIVES TO COSTLY BANKRUPTCY LAWYERS WHICH DEBTORS CAN WELL AFFORD

So, how do you file affordable personal bankruptcy? And how do you avoid high bankrupt lawyers fees?

Fortunately for debtors, believe it or not, there are some one or two real good alternatives available for debtors which they can use to file for bankruptcy and get their bankruptcy protection alright – just as good as the average debtor would get who uses the expensive services of a lawyer. But, this time, at very low-cost and far less expensive cost that virtually every debtor can afford. And, believe it or not, it is an option that is specifically provided you by law under do U.S. bankruptcy Code.

And what is that?

Put simply, it is the option provided by the Bankruptcy Code itself. In a nutshell, the Code [specifically at Section 527(b) Of The Bankruptcy Code] provides the debtor THREE legitimate sources by which he/she can get assistance in the filing of his/her bankruptcy:

1) basically, the debtor may study up on how to do it and do the bankruptcy work himself; or,
2) the debtor may hire a bankruptcy lawyer to do it for him; or,
thirdly,) the debtor may hire a Federal government-approved person or agency known as a Bankruptcy Petition Preparer, meaning a competent or trained person or agency who is not an attorney but is expert at doing the bankruptcy papers, to do it for you. This expert’s specialty is basically to prepare bankrupt petition and avoid or dramatically cut down on high bankrupt lawyers fees!

Now, we’ll just assume that you do not want to or just don’t have the knowledge or confidence to do the bankruptcy work yourself.

FACT: As is crystal clear to all from the facts that are earlier set forth above, a large and still growing number of eligible debtors who wish to file for bankruptcy and are qualified, simply can’t afford the bankruptcy lawyer or their high fees, and for such persons their only realistic “choice” otherwise is to go without the Constitutional right to protection of bankruptcy. And, given that reality, there seems to be ONLY one realistic choice left for the debtor who is serious about filing bankruptcy to adopt – selecting and hiring a competent and reliable Federal government-approved person or agency, known as a Bankruptcy Petition Preparer (also called Debt Relief Agency or Agent), to do it for you.

A Bankruptcy Petition Preparer (assuming, at least, the one you select is a good and competent one among them) is an experienced or trained person or agency who is not an attorney, but who is expert at doing the bankruptcy papers and also knows intimately the different procedures involved in the filing and processing of bankruptcy cases. They charge at a mere fraction of what it would cost you using an attorney (since they don’t charge, as bankruptcy attorneys do, “attorney rates” based on “per hour” billing. Compared to the lawyer’s average fee of $150 to $2,500 today for a simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the average charge by the Bankruptcy Petition Preparer (the better ones among them) for the paperwork for the same Chapter 7, ranges anywhere from $190 to $250 – whopping a cost ratio of 1 to 10, or 1 to 15.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Do you, perhaps, fall among those growing number of debtors in America today who just can’t afford filing for bankruptcy simply because you can’t afford the bankrupt lawyer’s fees? Then, realistically, you really have just one option left for you – hiring a legally approved Petition Preparer Bankrupt or Debt Relief Agent, which is a position approved by Congress under the bankruptcy law, and letting him or her assist you in doing the bankruptcy papers and filing them at a far lower cost rate that you can usually afford

POINTER: But the KEY is, you MUST be sure to hire a good, competent, proven and reliable one that can properly get the job done for you!

NEED MORE INFORMATION?

For more information on how to end the “too broke to even declare bankruptcy” problem by using a good Federally-approved Debt Relief Agency or Bankruptcy Document/Petition Preparer to do a successful bankruptcy for you at an incredibly low cost that you can well afford, or how, especially, to be sure to use a good, competent, proven company that you can well rely on to properly get the job done for you, please visit this site: http://www.afford-bankruptcy.com

Do You Need an Immigration Lawyer or Not?

There is no situation which absolutely requires a private immigration lawyer. Be careful not to misread that. I didn’t say that immigration lawyers aren’t valuable; they just aren’t required.

The fact is that hiring an immigration attorney is a matter of preference. As an immigration attorney myself, I can safely say that some immigration matters probably do not need the attention of an immigration attorney. If an individual needs to renew her green card, there’s a form for that that can easily be found on USCIS’s web site, and she can fill it out herself and pay the fee. It’s that simple. Don’t waste your money on an immigration attorney to do this for you.

Other immigration matters, while seemingly straightforward to the untrained eye, can turn into an immigrant’s worst nightmare if she omits something in her paperwork or admits something that gets her into immigration trouble that she wouldn’t have otherwise been in. For example, an individual with a criminal record (such as a conviction based upon shoplifting a pack of gum five years ago!) who applies for naturalization could be put into removal proceedings. Please don’t let that happen to you.

Then there are the incredibly difficult immigration matters that individuals usually have absolutely no idea how to handle, such as submitting complicated waiver applications, navigating all the different types of employment-based visa categories, or (heaven forbid) being placed in removal proceedings which necessitates at least several hearings in Immigration Court.

That being said, there are several very good reasons why people hire immigration lawyers:

(1) Immigration law is complex. In 2005, the Congressional Research Service reported: “The statutory scheme defining and delimiting the rights of aliens is exceedingly complex. Courts and commentators have stated that the Immigration and Nationality Act resembles ‘King Mino’s labyrinth in ancient Crete,’ and is ‘second only to the Internal Revenue Code in complexity.’

Finding someone who can navigate the complicated immigration laws can mean the difference between being able to live and work in the U.S. and being forced to leave. Legacy INS Spokesperson Karen Kraushaar stated that “immigration law is a mystery and a mastery of obfuscation, and the lawyers who can figure it out are worth their weight in gold.”

There are, however, some immigration attorneys who either cannot or at least have not yet figured it out. In a law review article written by Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and Northwestern University Law Professor Albert Yoon, it is noted that a panel of judges were asked which area of the law had the lowest quality lawyers. The judges “agreed that immigration law was the area in which the quality of representation was lowest.”

The lesson from all of this? Yes, immigration law is complex, but it is important to find an immigration attorney who can figure it out.

(2) Immigration lawyers can fend off future immigration problems. Because of the complexity of immigration law, it’s difficult for individuals attempting to handle an immigration case by themselves to get up to speed on the immigration laws. This is especially important if time is running against you, which it almost always is in immigration matters. Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has stated in the context of detained immigrants that “the need for legal representation for immigrants has grown so acute and the consequences so drastic that something must be done.” If immigration attorneys are useless, then a U.S. Supreme Court Justice would never have made such a remark.

People sometimes think they do not need an immigration attorney because they don’t have any immigration problems. For a lot of people, that may be true. But for some people, it’s not that they don’t have immigration problems, but it’s that they don’t know that they have immigration problems. “Oh? You mean that if I leave the U.S. right now I won’t be able to come back for 10 years?” Yes, I am sorry. If that individual had seen an immigration attorney a year ago, there may have been something the attorney would have advised in order to prevent her current immigration predicament. Not seeing an attorney when in doubt can result in a lot of “could have, would have, should have” statements.

(3) Immigration lawyers do it better (statistically speaking). Statistics can be dubious and misleading, so I don’t like using them lightly. However, the statistics that I am about to share with you are verifiable and are worth your attention. Lawyers cannot guarantee a successful outcome in any case. In fact, lawyers should specifically say to every new client that “I cannot guarantee a successful outcome in your case.” The lawyer can then offer these statistics:

In the context of removal proceedings (where the immigrant is not detained):

  • The immigrant is successful in immigration court 74% of the time when represented by a lawyer;
  • The immigrant is successful in immigration court 13% of the time when NOT represented by a lawyer.

In the context of asylum cases:

  • Out of 37,266 affirmative asylum cases, 36.8 percent of claimants who were represented were granted asylum, compared to 4.0 percent who were not represented;
  • Out of 16,180 defensive asylum cases, 25.9 percent of claimants who were represented were granted asylum, compared to 7.4 percent who were not represented.

These statistics are not meant to be used as a sales pitch to a client wondering whether or not she should hire an immigration lawyer, or whether to hire you or I as her lawyer. Rather, they are meant to provide a wake-up call to the client, in essence saying, “Immigration law is complex. You can do this on your own or you can hire a lawyer to guide you.” If staying in the U.S. is important to the client, the choice is clear.

Immigration lawyers do much more than simply fill out immigration forms. We can spot immigration problems before they occur, and advise a client accordingly. When we believe the client does not have a good case, we tell them, and suggest ways in order to build a stronger case. When we are forced to fight the government, we prepare legal briefs in support of our arguments and make appearances in immigration and consular officers with our clients. We offer strategies for successful outcomes at immigration interviews, and inform clients of potential pitfalls to avoid at these interviews. As you can see, all the evidence supports the case that immigration lawyers are invaluable.

How To Find The Best Criminal Lawyer

Sometimes people are accused of crimes that they have not even committed. You may be accused of drunk driving, robbing your neighbor’s car or even homicide. What do you do to prove that you are actually innocent? Hire a capable criminal lawyer of course!

A criminal lawyer is one who represents people who have either committed a crime or someone who is wrongly accused.

When you are charged with a crime, it is your job to find a good attorney for yourself. This maybe a little expensive, but it is advisable not to compromise as it is your life is at stake here.

In cases where a defendant does not have sufficient funds to hire his own lawyer, the court hires one for him. This may or may not be a good thing. An attorney hired by the court is also paid by the court, so it does have its drawbacks.

You may think that with so many lawyers listed in the yellow pages, it is going to be easy to find one. Well, no it is not. Not all of the listed ones are good enough and some may not be even represent people charged with criminal cases. So how are you going to find a good lawyer for yourself?

  • You could start by asking family and friends for recommendations. They might even know a few good lawyers or some may even have hired one before.
  • Do not be hasty in hiring a lawyer. Meet with them, speak to them and find out a little about them. You should have an idea about how long they have been handling criminal cases and how many successful cases they have had. It is always better to know the person who is going to be handling your case.
  • It is always advisable to hire a local lawyer. He will be familiar with the local and law and any recent changes that may have been made in it.
  • Some lawyers also have associates who fight cases they have been appointed for. Make sure that are you aware of who is going to be representing you. You do not want to be burdened with an inexperienced person fighting your case.
  • Hire a lawyer you are comfortable with. He should be someone you can talk to easily.
  • Help your attorney to help you. Do not hide anything from him. The more honest you are with him the easier it becomes for him to fight your case.

One way of ensuring you get the justice you deserve is by hiring the right criminal lawyer. Northampton citizens can rely on Aaroe Law Offices for the best legal advice and aid.

How to Find a Good Lawyer in London

The thing about capital cities is that they are often rather large; this can be a great thing when you are a tourist, taking in the sights and sounds of London town, with so many things to do every day, yet when you are trying to find a good lawyer, it can be a bit of a nightmare!

Lawyers flock to London as it really is the place to be if you want to get to the top of any major industry in the UK; this means that there are a plethora of lawyers to choose from, yet the question is, how do we find the right one? Sure, one may offer the best advice, yet charge unreasonable prices, or another may be cheap as chips but not know the first thing about winning a case!

Many of the city’s law firms are situated in the heart of the city, with places like Bond street and Goodge street littered with be-suited ladies and gentlemen, trotting off on the daily grind, many of whom lawyers that could help you with your case.

A London lawyer may not be any different to any other lawyer in the UK, with the obvious exception of the fast talking accent and the sky high prices! However, simply because you are in the capital city, does not mean that you have to pay through the nose for legal advice; by searching the market and comparing different lawyer’s price ranges, you are sure to find a bargain.

It is here where the secret to finding a good London lawyer lies; research. If you go for the first lawyer that you find, then you are almost certainly not going to get the best bargain, unless you are extremely lucky.

By researching all of the law firms in London, or at least a fair few of them, you will put yourself in a better bargaining position to discuss prices. Internet sites can help you with this, as there are sites available that will allow you to compare and contrast the various attributes of London lawyers, before you settle on your final decision.

When researching London lawyers, try to assess which of them has the most experience in your case; this is essential in helping your confidence in whether you can win your case or not and remember, just because they are working in the capital, does not mean that they need a lot more of your capital to take your case!

Lawyer Video – 5 Questions You Must Ask When Choosing a Web Video Company

Congratulations! You’ve decided to create attorney video. You recognize the importance of video for a viewer searching for a lawyer in your specialty. You’ve decided not to create video yourself and instead are looking for a video company to do everything for you. Where do you begin to look?

Online. Where do you look online? YouTube is a good start. Do a search for attorneys in your specialty. Watch those videos. See what you like, and importantly, what you don’t like. In the description sidebar, look to see which company created that lawyers’ video. Then call that company. Alternatively, do a Google search for ‘lawyer video company’, or ‘video for lawyers’.

Here are 5 questions you must ask to make sure you compare apples to apples and not apples to oranges.

1. How long does it take to shoot my video?
2. How many video clips do I get for that video shoot?
3. How long will each completed video clip be?
4. How much will it cost to create my video?
5. Will you upload my videos to video sharing sites and optimize the videos so the search engines can find my videos?

2 BONUS QUESTIONS YOU MUST ASK EVERY VIDEO COMPANY YOU TALK TO:

1. Is the video producer a lawyer? Why is this important? Because most video producers do not know what your potential clients look for when searching for an attorney online. As an attorney, I have the unique ability to know what a potential client looks for when doing an online search for a lawyer.

2. How much will you charge me when I want to do another series of videos next month? And the month after that? Why is that important? After your first series of videos, you will soon realize that you have so much more information to offer online viewers. Only by creating a series of videos will you be able to create effective, educational and fresh video content.

The answers to these important questions will surprise you. When comparing video companies do not choose one based solely on price alone. Instead, look to the value and experience that the company and the producer can give you. Only then can you make an educated decision about which video company is right for you.