Los Angeles Bankruptcy Court: Big Trouble Without a Lawyer

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The Los Angeles Bankruptcy Court is a busy place. If you go without a lawyer, expect trouble. The chances are you will get swallowed up and overwhelmed by a very intimidating process.

You  probably have enough trouble already. Going through the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Court without the services of a lawyer might be your own financial suicide. Sadly for those who do it, about 39% of all Chapter 7 cases filed without a lawyer end in failure, (even for those who used so-called self-help services from a bankruptcy petition preparer).

LOS ANGELES BANKRUPTCY COURT: BIG TROUBLE WITHOUT A LAWYERIf you file Chapter 7 without a lawyer in Los Angeles, (and also including the counties of Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and Santa Barbara), your chance to successfully complete the case and receive a  Chapter 7 discharge of your debts is only about 61%.

If you file Chapter 7 represented by a lawyer in the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Court, the odds of successfully receiving a discharge of debt will soar, reaching  95%.

The United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California is vast and covers the areas of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties.

The study is entitled Access to Justice in Crisis: Self-Represented Parties and the Court .

 Chapter 7 is considered to be the bankruptcy case of choice for most people trying to find relief from credit card debts, unsecured loans, and medical bills. Discharge  is a critical milestone for having a successful Chapter 7 case. Without it, there is no ‘fresh start.’

The same court study also states that the number of self-represented debtors that manage to get to confirmation of a Chapter 13 plan is 0.4 percent – (less than one-half of one percent), clearly demonstrating that it is nearly impossible for self-represented debtors to succeed in Chapter 13.

This report is a sad reminder that you have little chance of a successful bankruptcy case in the Central District of California if you file without an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.


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Leon Bayer and Jeffrey Wishman are Los Angeles Bankruptcy attorneys. They have been practicing bankruptcy lawyers in Los Angeles for 37 years and are Certified Bankruptcy Specialists by the State Bar of California. These are lawyers who bring experience, skill and creativity to the highly complex area of bankruptcy law. At this Los Angeles law firm, the your initial consultation with an expert is free. Mr. Bayer is a coauthor of Nolo's The New Bankruptcy: Will It Work for You?, authors the “Ask Leon” series on Nolo’s Bankruptcy, Debt & Foreclosure blog, and writes on bankruptcy topics for Nolo’s website. In addition, Mr. Bayer devotes a significant number of hours to volunteer legal services. The State Bar of California has commended Mr. Bayer for this work every year since 2004.