You don’t need a lawyer to file bankruptcy. And it is truly remarkable how many people file bankruptcy without hiring a lawyer. For the record, I’ll show you some numbers that are collected by the bankruptcy court. In 2014, about 57,000 bankruptcy cases were filed in the 5 county region anchored by the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Court. About 13,000 of those cases were filed by people without hiring a lawyer. Let’s see how things went for people who filed bankruptcy without a lawyer.
Do I need a lawyer to file bankruptcy 7? No, but the failure rate for chapter 7 bankruptcy cases filed without a lawyer is 6 times higher than it is for people who file with a lawyer.
The failure rate for Chapter 7 cases filed with a lawyer was less than 4%. The failure rate of all Chapter 7 cases filed without a lawyer was approximately 25%. Filing Chapter 7 without a lawyer makes your case more than 6 times more likely to be denied then for people who filed with a lawyer. See how Chapter 7 works.
Do I need a lawyer to file bankruptcy 13? No, but the failure rate in chapter 13 cases filed without a lawyer is almost 99%.
The failure rate for Chapter 13 cases is much worse than for chapter 7 cases. In 2014, about 2900 total chapter 13 cases filed with lawyer representation were paid in full and received a discharge. However, only 28 total chapter 13 cases without lawyer representation received a discharge. Thus, your chances of complete chapter 13 success without a lawyer were about 1%. See how Chapter 13 works.
Would you take these odds in Vegas?
No way. And a Vegas casino would be shut down immediately by the gambling authority if it tried to give you the same odds of winning as a self represented person has in a bankruptcy case. You have 6 to 1 greater chance of losing in a chapter 7 when you don’t have a lawyer. You have a 99% chance of losing when you file chapter 13 without a lawyer. Yet thousands of people will step up to the courthouse bankruptcy window and file on their own without having a lawyer.
Why do people say you don’t need a lawyer to file bankruptcy?
People who say you don’t need a lawyer to file bankruptcy are plainly ignorant. Most people who file chapter 13 are trying to save a home from foreclosure. Someone who thinks they don’t need a lawyer to file chapter 13 will likely lose their house. People will file without a lawyer because they are trying to save money. If you file without a lawyer you will save a few thousand dollars. But you might lose your house. So, is it really worth it?
We all need experts.
If you travel by air you don’t need an expert jet pilot to fly you, (just flap your arms real fast). If you need a tooth extraction you don’t need a dentist, (just a good pair of pliers). And if you have deep debt trouble you don’t need a lawyer to file bankruptcy, (just lots of boxes so you can pack up and move after the bank takes your house).
Many top notch bankruptcy lawyers are affordable. They have to be. All the clients are broke. That means lawyer fees have to be what broke people can afford. At our law firm we will give you a completely free consultation with an expert bankruptcy lawyer.