If the so called “bankruptcy mills” were to the legal sector what their industrial forebears were to the productive industries, then veteran lawyers would have no basis for complaint. Mills and factories made production of consumer goods cheaper, faster, and more accessible, and provided jobs to legions of unskilled rural peasants – suddenly, almost everyone could have off-the-rack clothing, factory made furniture, and the other staples of the modern comfortable life.
So what’s the matter with a large firm bankruptcy mill that churns out inexpensive boiler plate bankruptcies and employs legions of questionably-able lawyers?
It’s a simple case of getting what you pay for. And since each bankruptcy case is unique and no two individuals have the same financial history or legal needs, what you get is often a mass-produced solution that may or may not actually address the individual’s needs.
Many of these large operations are law firms in name alone. Working on a volume model of business, they aim to rope in as many clients as possible, using TV spots and highway billboards to advertise unbelievably low rates and too-good-to-be-true promises of economic salvation and legal recovery.
But there are several downsides. Since the large bankruptcy mills do not function like normal law firms, clients often have little contact with their appointed attorney. Lawyers from these massive firms struggle to try to find their clients at creditors meetings or court hearings. If one-on-one contact with an attorney is a high priority, then the mill model of bankruptcy law probably won’t satisfy. We urge consumers not to underestimate the importance of having regular and respectful contact with their lawyers. It’s a sad state of affairs when clients come to us complaining that their previous attorneys were disrespectful or uncaring – but sadly this happens all too often.
Another problem with “bargain basement” bankruptcy firms is that they often provide a la carte style services. While they may advertise bankruptcy filings for only $400, you’ll usually get only bare bones service for this price. It costs more to get comprehensive representation, and clients are often left disaffected by having to pay far more than they’d initially thought.