Stand-In Attorneys Don’t Hold Water in Some Courts

Today with the increased bankruptcy filings throughout the Nation, attorneys are changing the way the run their practices. The model that is being developed does not sit well with many including the courts.

When a client comes in and meets with an attorney and then signs a representation agreement, that may be the last time, the file or that attorney even touches the file. Clients need to be sure to question the attorney to be sure that the attorney is doing more than meeting and turning over the file to an associate or paralegal. It is also key to ask whether that attorney will appear with you in Court matters, e.g. Meeting of Creditors.

The Courts have noted that they do not approve of this “model” of attorneys office practices.

In a recent opinion by Judge Jeff Bohn (Consumer Bankruptcy News – Volume 23, Issue 19) he stated:

“The use of appearance attorneys deprives clients… Such a practice is insulting to the client, the Court, and the principles upon which the judicial system is built. Attorneys are not fungible. Attorneys are not all equal to each other, either in their courtroom abilities, their understanding of the law, or in their communicative skills.”

Clients choose a firm and an attorney for a reason, and clients have a right to be represented by the attorney of their choice during all portions of their case.

The justification for certain consumer bankruptcy attorneys that their business model will not work unless they are allowed to use appearance attorneys HOLDS NO WATER with this Court. If a firm’s business model conflicts with the professional standards of the legal profession, the former must give way to the latter.”

Be sure to ask when you interview or have your first meeting with an attorney, who will be handling my case?

  • An assistant,
  • Another attorney,
  • Appearance attorney???

When an attorney takes a case, they should initially meet with the client to understand and become familiar with the client’s needs. After that time, a Representation Agreement is agreed upon and signed.

As for Bankruptcies, there are many important deadlines and criteria to meet to finalize what type of bankruptcy is right for the client. During this time, a learning period begins for the attorney where he/she becomes very familiar with the case and interacts closely with the clients.

As the information and data are collected from the client, the attorney is able to fully understand not only the client but also the details of the case. Most of the time, there is a great deal of interaction between the client and the attorney. Much is learned about the client’s financial situation, spending habits, debts, how the debts occurred and the household income, etc.

At the 341(a) Meeting of Creditor’s is scheduled, the attorney presents his client to the Trustee and is there to assist and explain the petition that was put together for the client.

If an attorney who worked on the case does not come to Meeting of Creditors but sends an alternate attorney, how can that alternate attorney/stand-in attorney provide the proper representation and support to that client?

I don’t recommend having someone stand-in for an attorney when dealing with bankruptcy cases. Do you?

Bellevue DUI Attorneys

Bellevue DUI Attorneys Specialize in DUI Defense

Working with Bellevue DUI attorneys is something you should do if you are arrested for DUI and want to win your case so you don’t end up with a criminal record. Bellevue DUI attorneys can help you to minimize the penalties imposed if convicted or even help you to successfully defend yourself against the charges. Imagine losing your license and not being able to travel to work each day or being incarcerated and not being able to spend time with your family. If you have Bellevue DUI attorneys on your team, you can minimize the chances of this happening to you. Don’t think of hiring an attorney as an expense; think of it as an investment in your freedom and your ability to drive and do all of the other things you normally do. If you think of it this way, the expense of hiring a specialized DUI lawyer is minimal compared to the value of all the benefits Bellevue DUI attorneys provide.

Consulting with Bellevue DUI Attorneys

Your first consultation with your new attorney will be one of your most important meetings. This is where you will sign your agreement outlining payment terms and other conditions of representation and officially hire the attorney to represent you as you face DUI charges. You’ll be asked you explain your case to your attorney and let him or her know about any special circumstances that may exist. Once they have all the information they need, your Bellevue DUI attorneys can get started on preparing for your case. Your attorney may find expert witnesses to testify during your trial or look up case law that can affect how your case is handled. Depending on the type of case being presented against you in court, your attorney may also choose to have your chemical test sample retested at an independent lab so that they can confirm or refute the results achieved by the police lab. All of this work will help when your criminal trial comes around and it’s time to present your defense in court.

Administrative Hearings with Bellevue DUI Attorneys

Working with Bellevue DUI attorneys can also be important in keeping your driving privileges from being taken away. Because driving under the influence is punishable with an administrative penalty of license suspension, your life can be made much more difficult if you are arrested for DUI. Imagine not being able to drive to work or go to the doctor for a much-needed medical important. This can really happen if you don’t Bellevue DUI attorneys to help you with any DMV hearings that are scheduled. If your attorney represents you, you may be able to get a restricted license that you can use to at least get to work and other necessary appointments. This will cut down on the hassles you experience in trying to find a friend to give you a ride or having to use buses or trains to get everywhere.

Criminal Sentencing and Bellevue DUI Attorneys

Bellevue DUI attorneys can also be a great help when it comes time for sentencing. Because you may be convicted of DUI if your case is not strong enough or if you just don’t get a good verdict in court, having Bellevue DUI attorneys to work with is very important for getting your life back on track after DUI charges. Working with one of these attorneys can help make the difference between spending time in jail and being able to be on probation and still have a chance at employment and a good family life.

Benefits of Bellevue DUI Attorneys

There are many benefits of working with Bellevue DUI attorneys to prepare for and present your case in court. The first is that they are specialized attorneys who focus solely on DUI defense as their careers. You won’t be working with someone who has a medical malpractice case one day and a murder trial the next. Your specialized attorney will have access to witnesses and information that can help you win your case. In terms of preparing for your case, your attorney will know the right questions to ask and how to prepare your defense so it has the best chance of getting a good result. Working with Bellevue DUI attorneys has many benefits and greatly outweighs any costs associated with hiring an attorney to defend you against DUI charges. If you’re facing a DUI charge, contact your local Bellevue DUI attorneys before it’s too late.

Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney – 7 Things to Know Before You Do

The Top 7 Things to Know Before You Hire a Wills, Trusts or Estate Attorney

You should consider several different questions before you sign an agreement with any attorney, but this is even more important when it comes to hiring a wills, trusts or estate attorney. This attorney will address sensitive family and financial issues that range from helping you pass assets on to your children and close family members, to protecting you from unnecessary taxes, to helping you determine the best person to make medical decisions on your behalf. This is why you need to know the answers to the seven questions discussed in this special report.

#1: Does the attorney offer a free consultation and will he explain what will happen at this initial meeting?

An attorney should offer you a free, no hassle consultation. First, meeting him or her will help to put you at ease and will give you a chance to discuss your case in a frank manner. You will also have a chance to ask questions and to determine if this is an attorney whom you can trust to address your legal concerns. Second, it gives the attorney the opportunity to ask you questions and to learn more about your case. You might discover that you do not get along very well with this attorney. Conversely, the attorney may realize that your case is not the type that he wants to take or is not related to his field of expertise. For this type of relationship to work in an effective and productive manner, both you and your attorney need to be able to work together comfortably.

#2 Does the attorney offer a flat fee for the services that he will perform and will this be put in writing?

Every attorney should use a written agreement, which is known as a retainer agreement. In this agreement, the attorney should clearly state the fee that you will be charged and honor this agreement. The attorney should clearly explain the fee, the services that he will perform, and should also clearly explain the options that are available to you to pay this fee. You should not sign this agreement until you understand how much you will be charged, what the attorney will do for you, what information he will need from you, any deadlines involved, and any other obligations that you are required to perform. You should always feel free to ask the attorney questions if you do not understand something in the agreement or otherwise. You should also ask about the expected completion of the work.

A flat fee encourages the attorney to work in an efficient manner and also prevents you from receiving an unexpectedly large bill upon the completion of the services. This can happen if it takes the attorney longer to complete the work than he initially thought.

#3 Does the attorney guarantee his service? Will he refund your money if you are not completely satisfied?

Your attorney works for you and is being paid to help you plan your estate. You should not tolerate an attorney that will not refund your money if you are not completely satisfied with the work. Additionally, your attorney should be willing to revise your documents that he is initially drafting. However, after he has drafted them and you have expressed your satisfaction, you should not expect the attorney to revise these documents unless you have kept the attorney on retainer. Please note that no attorney will guarantee results if your matter is being litigated in court.

#4 Will the attorney help you make wise choices about insurance, saving for your children’s college, and retirement planning?

Your attorney should help you make decisions about the most appropriate documents and vehicles to accomplish your estate planning objectives, but should also assist you with buying insurance, saving for college, planning for retirement, and all of the other challenging decisions that will arise. In fact, your attorney should have a team of trusted advisors in place in order to help you make the best possible decisions.

If your attorney is unable or unwilling to advise you on these matters, then you should seek out an attorney who will do so. Having such an attorney will prevent you from making expensive and unnecessary mistakes, and will save you time in having to hunt for additional advisors.

#5 Does your attorney have a process in place to respond to your phone calls and emails quickly in case questions arise? Will your attorney keep you informed about how your matter is progressing?

Your attorney should be able to answer your phone calls, emails, and questions quickly. You are paying this attorney for service and for professional guidance and attention, not just for the drafting of your estate planning documents. How often have you heard from friends and loved ones about an attorney that takes days, weeks or more to respond to phone calls? Do not tolerate such unprofessional behavior. Ask your attorney about this and if he is unable to convince you that he has such a process in place, then continue your search for an attorney that will get back to you in a time efficient manner.

#6 Does your attorney have a process for helping you capture and pass on not only your physical and financial wealth, but also your intellectual and spiritual assets, as well as what is important to you?

Some attorneys recognize that wealth is not measured solely by your net worth, by the value of your brokerage and retirement accounts, but is also measured by who you are as a person. Your intangible assets, such as lessons that you have learned over a lifetime of building wealth, or the wisdom you have accumulated through your life experiences that you would like your children to know more about, are very valuable, almost priceless. These should not be forgotten.

When deciding whether to hire an attorney, be sure to select someone who will help you capture, document, and pass on all of your assets, including those intangible ones that are often overlooked.

#7 Will your attorney make sure that your assets are structured and owned in the right way?

You could hire an attorney at the largest firm around and pay him an exorbitant fee, but if your assets are not titled and owned in the right manner, then the plan that he created will not work for you. The attorney that you plan to hire should be willing to ensure not only that your documents are drafted correctly, but also that your assets are structured properly.

Do not be afraid to ask these questions before you hire an attorney to work with your family on legal planning matters. When you find an attorney that says yes to these questions, hire him or her quickly before the practice fills up and he or she stops taking on new clients. Asking these questions and hearing the right answers before you engage a lawyer to work on your wills, trusts, and estate will ensure you put in place legal planning for your family that will work when you need it.