I spent a painful day in court watching two contested Chapter 13 confirmation calendars.
It wasn’t just my fanny that hurt by the end of the day, it was my head. Actually, I was sick to my stomach.
The number of Chapter 13 cases dismissed because the lawyer had apparently done nothing, done it late, or done it wrong was nauseating.
The parade of lame excuses for inaction went on and on. In the end, the amount of pain inflicted on the unsuspecting clients by bumblers with a law license was frightful.
When I began this site, as well as the attendant training programs for bankruptcy lawyers, I did so because I felt a need to pass on what I know about consumer bankruptcy practice. It’s a commercial venture, but one born out of frustration with the level of incompetence I was seeing on a daily basis.
That incompetence used to show up at the 341 meeting. Now it shows up in the Chapter 13 confirmation process. Farther along the path, but just as disgusting.
So, my message is blunt: get better or get out.
What stoked my ire was the efforts of this trustee and the two judges conducting yesterday’s calendar over the recent past to implement a new, streamlined procedure. They wrote guidelines, they held brown bags, they conducted half day trainings. They’ve been doing things this way for a number of months. Dismissing cases for non-compliance was not a case of capricious ill temper on the part of the bench.
Anyone who didn’t know what was expected didn’t pay attention or didn’t care to comply.
In the end, it’s the public who pays the price. Honest people who handed over their lives to people holding themselves out as professionals. Instead of help, they got bilked out of money and time.
Nobody’s helped here. Not the consumer who needs help, not the creditor who stands a chance of getting something in a Chapter 13 Plan. Not the family, not the neighborhood.
The only one who wins here is the lawyer. Only in a couple of cases were there signs that fees would have to be disgorged.
If anything I’ve said here hits close to your home, do something to remedy the situation. Get a mentor; take a course; get a calendar and move the cases along, or get out of the practice. As you stand, you are a blight on the profession.
Image courtesy of [Crewe]