The number-one question I get asked is “how much will it cost to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rhode Island?” Asking up front what I charge for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a fair question and one I’m happy to answer. It provides the opportunity to explain the big differences between my firm and others and the considerable benefits you get by choosing me.
Clearly, each bankruptcy case is different. When you ask for a price, I need to ask you details about your debt situation. I then estimate the time it will take to complete your case, and offer a flat fee that will be affordable for us both. It comes down to a familiar maxim: Time is money.
Ideal clients get the best price for a bankruptcy filing. Ideal clients are prepared and follow my instructions. They either pay the fee all at once, or set up an automated monthly payment plan so the case can be filed quickly.
Having represented thousands of clients in RI and MA, I typically have three price points: $ 950, $ 1,250 and $ 1,500. The lowest fee is offered to senior citizens with minimal debt ($ 10,000 – $ 15,000), who own no real estate, and are living on a fixed income like Social Security. The highest fee is offered to married couples, filing jointly, who either own real estate, or have substantial debt ($ 30,000+). The middle fee is for everyone else. These are often single filers, who are working, and have a medium amount of debt.
Over the years, I’ve seen plenty of low-ball advertisements from bankruptcy mills. What is a bankruptcy mill? Basically a high-volume lawyer who spends big on advertising and cares very little on handling your case professionally. Its all about getting as many clients in the door by offering “cheap prices” and fixing all the problems later. Before paying any bankruptcy lawyer, you should know their reputation and determine if he:
- relies heavily on non-lawyer staff to prepare your case
- misses court deadlines and files incomplete bankruptcy petitions
- comes to hearings late and/or unprepared
- has been disbarred, had his license suspended, or been disciplined by the court for shoddy representation. A search can be done at http://rijrs.courts.ri.gov/rijrs/attorney.do
Bottom line: If your case is easy and you’re prepared, you will get a low fee. I routinely discount my attorney fee for clients who are retired, disabled, or unemployed. Call me with you debt situation and I promise to work out a fee that you can afford.