Atlas Law Firm

What Are MN Largest Bankruptcy Mills And How Do They Work?


Bankruptcy mills are law firms with attorneys, who focus their practice on bankruptcy laws. However, the word mill refers to an attorney who markets himself or his practice, and then has legal assistants, and non-lawyer employees handle working on the cases. They compartmentalize cases in order to use this assembly line style of practice. They try to minimize costs and maximize profit. They will spend a ton of money on marketing, television commercials, radio commercials, and direct mailing, in order to cast a wide net to bring in as many clients as possible. Under the law, the attorney only needs to meet with the person, because under the law, only the attorney is licensed to offer any legal advice.

Once the attorney at a bankruptcy mill has met with the potential client, if the potential clients decide to move forward, the case is then handed off to legal assistants and paralegals. They handle the case almost exclusively at this point. The attorney then attends the 341 hearing, and that is about it. Every once in a while with a bankruptcy mill, if there is a legal question, the attorney will field it, but by and large, essentially you are hiring legal assistants. After that primary consultation with the attorney, you are probably never going to meet him or her again, or even talk to him or her.

Therefore, the attorneys at bankruptcy mills are really focused on meeting with potential clients, getting them to sign up, and then attending the hearings. Everything else is handled by a team of legal assistants. You are not getting the level of service that you might be led to believe you were going to get. Many times your questions are not going to be answered by the attorney, and your case is not even going to be handled by the attorney that you meet in the initial consultation. When you meet with Atlas Law Firm, you meet with me. I handle your case from the start to the end. I am the person who answers all your questions, and I am the only attorney who is compiling your case documents. I am the person who is attending all the meetings with you.

It is not handed off to a team of legal assistants in our firm, it is not the way we practice law. We certainly have people who help us with our day-to-day activities, but we do not compartmentalize your case, and turn everything over to somebody else. When you meet with an attorney in our firm, you hire that attorney.

What Are Some Of The Key Things To Consider When Hiring A Bankruptcy Attorney?

The first thing you look for when hiring a bankruptcy attorney is obviously you want somebody who feels knowledgeable. If you meet with an attorney and they give you a lot of “I don’t knows” that should be a huge red flag. You should definitely have an attorney who can give you answers to all your questions. Occasionally, a very kind of unique question will come in and I will have to tell the person I do not know the answer. I always tell my clients let me do some research and get back to you.

That is different than I do not know if you qualify for Chapter 7. I do not know if you can keep your car, those kinds of glaring ignorance of the law is definitely a huge red flag. Number two is going to be legal fees. If you have sticker shock, because they are saying a number and they really cannot justify why that number seems high, then it is probably a good indication that you need to talk to a different bankruptcy lawyer. I used to work at a firm, and it is considered a bankruptcy mill as one of the largest bankruptcy firms in Minnesota. Whenever we would have attorney meetings, the boss would continually say, “You got to get your fees up, you got to charge more” because they had a huge marketing budget, they had a team of legal assistants, a bunch of attorneys, and they had dozens of office locations with multiple leases, so they had to keep their numbers up.

An Atlas Law Firm, which is a smaller law firm, we have lower overhead, and we can pass those savings onto our clients. At this bankruptcy mill that I used to work for, I had a schedule of all the different things I should charge for, and the minimum was $200 per each item, and I remember looking at the schedule and thinking, “Why are we charging extra for this? It really does not cost us any time or effort, it really doesn’t make sense,” and it was just another excuse to throw more money on top of the pile. We do not overcharge at Atlas Law Firm, and again, that is why we disclose all of our flat fees to our clients. Our fees are fair and we want to be transparent. Our clients appreciate that. The third thing to look for in any attorney is good client service. Client service is an intangible issue, but it is really the X factor between you having a positive experience, or having a frustrating one.

You should get a sense from the attorney that they are going to be returning your calls, and emails in a timely fashion, and that you are not just going to be tossed aside once you pay them their fees. Many lawyers run their legal practice just that way. I am astonished by how many people I meet with who have hired a personal injury lawyer, because they have been in a car accident or something, and now they are looking at bankruptcy. I will ask those questions about, “What did your personal injury attorney tell you about your claim? Where are you in the process have you filed the lawsuit? Have they given you any kind of estimation on what your claim might be worth?

They just look at me blankly and say, “I don’t know. I don’t even know if we have filed the case yet”, and I think wow, the level of communication is just so poor that the client does not even know what is happening in their case. You should feel comfortable that the lawyer you are going to hire is keeping you up-to-date every step of the way. A big part of what we do at that free consultation is we layout a timeline. We say, “If you want to move forward with let’s say the Chapter 7 option, here is where we are today, here is what you need to do in terms of turning in documents and what do you think the timeline is for you to get those back in to us? Once we get those, it’s going to take us 7 to 10 business days for us to move forward on the next step and then here is step number 3 and step number 4 and we are going to keep you informed every step of the way. Eventually we are going to get the Order for Discharge and layout that game plan so to speak and then follow through with it. “

We let the client know where his/ her case is at, and what to expect next. Of course, we respond as fast as we can to any questions or concerns that they may have in a timely matter. That is a huge factor to make sure that you are having a positive experience with Atlas Law Firm. When you do hire an attorney, it does cost a fair amount of money, so you should at least feel like you know what is going on in your case. If you get the sense that the lawyer you are talking with really does not care about client service, check out their reviews online. If they have a significant number of negative reviews, then you know what kind of service you can expect. Your money is probably better spent somewhere else.

For more information on Largest Bankruptcy Mills In Minnesota, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (763) 568-7343 today.

Michael Sheridan, Esq.

I am proud to offer each and every prospective client a free consultation. Contact us to learn how to resolve your debt problems!

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