Attorney Best Practices for Chapter 13 Practitioners
- Personally meet your client and introduce them to any staff attorney that may assist with their case.
- Mentor your associates. Make sure they identify themselves to your clients prior to the 341(a) hearing.
- Execute a formal retainer with your client, specify what is covered under the “flat fee: and what may be billed separately.
- Ask for identification; both photo and social security - you know they will need it.
- Run a credit report to make sure that you have full information on the creditors.
- Request case information and child support number for DSO recipients.
- Educate your client as to the consequences of non-compliance. Do not just tell them to pay their mortgage, rather, advise them
of what will happen if they fail to pay their mortgage. Explain what they should expect at various stages of the case.
- Specifically ask about prior cases. Run Pacer to confirm the information provided.
- Run a judgment search if your client owns realty. If you client refuses this service, get a written waiver.
- If your client owns realty request a copy of a recorded deed for each property.
- If the client owns realty, make sure you put in writing that the property cannot be sold/refinanced without court approval.
- Include proper notice to the tax authorities on all cases. Make certain that all tax returns have been filed.
- Make sure you have your client’s e-mail address. This is an easy way to keep all clients updated as to changes in procedure and
law, as well as a good mode of communication.
- Ensure all required documentation is emailed to the trustee in a timely and fully redacted manner.
- Provide the client with a sample of the 341(a) questions asked to ease tension prior to that meeting.
- Advise clients to make plan payments to the lock box, put case number and name on payments which must be in the form of certified
check or money order.
- Advise clients to review Trustee’s Final Report of Receipts and Disbursements.
- Advise clients of the need for the completion of Financial Literacy Course as a prerequisite to the receipt of discharge.