Make Bankruptcy Better with an Attorney

Make Bankruptcy Better with a Lafayette, IN Bankruptcy Attorney

Bankruptcy attorneys receive calls all the time from people who have tried to take the bankruptcy process into their own hands. If you choose to do this, you can find yourself in trouble that could be quite serious. Even the meeting of creditors, a simple meeting with the bankruptcy trustee that is required if you are filing bankruptcy, can show how dangerous filing bankruptcy without an attorney can be when it becomes overcomplicated by those trying to do it themselves.

However, it does not seem that this issue has been thoroughly considered until recently, and there is now clear evidence to support the issues that bankruptcy attorneys see in their calls and meetings.


Filing for Bankruptcy is Complex


Debtors filing bankruptcy without the help of a bankruptcy attorney are called pro se filers. These pro se filers are discussed by Assistant Professor Angela K. Littwin from the University of Texas in a book called Broke: How Debt Bankrupts the Middle Class. She analyzed data from a study about consumer bankruptcy over the last 30 years and had some interesting findings:


  • Cases filed by pro se filers were more likely to be dismissed than the cases filed by those represented by and attorney.
  • More educated individuals were more likely to be pro se filers
  • However, increased education (college degrees) did not seem to help them handle the complex bankruptcy process better than those without a degree.

In 2005, bankruptcy law was changed and made more sophisticated to deter people from filing, which makes it especially difficult to file without an attorney. These findings may be a result of this change.


The Odds are Against Pro Se Filers


Professor Littwin did a study closely related to the one for the book and found that the pro se filers are taking quite a gamble considering the odds stacked against them. The study showed that 17.6% of pro se filers had cases either dismissed or converted to a (much longer) Chapter 13 case. However, only 1.9% of those represented by a bankruptcy attorney had this occur.


The fact of the matter is that anyway the study was performed, those represented by attorneys were almost 10 times more likely to get a discharge of their debts than the pro se filers.

It seems that the consensus, according to Professor Littwin, is that filing a Chapter 7 without the representation of an attorney makes it significantly less likely that your debts will be discharged


If you are considering filing bankruptcy, it is clearly a good idea to consult with an attorney. The Law Offices of Brad A. Woolley can help you with your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case in the Lafayette, Indiana area.