- Personally meet your client and introduce them to any staff attorney that may
assist with their case.
- 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.
- Educate your client. Explain what they should expect at various stages of the
- Specifically ask about prior cases. Run Pacer to confirm the information
- Run a judgment search if your client owns realty. If your client refuses this
service, get a written waiver.
- If the Debtor owns realty, make sure you put in writing that the property cannot
be sold / refinanced without court approval.
- Include 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
- Provide the Debtor with a sample of the 341(a) questions asked to ease
tension prior to that meeting.
- Advise Debtor of the consequences of not doing certain things. Do not just tell
them to pay their mortgage, rather, advise them of what will happen if they fail
to pay their mortgage.
- Advise Debtors 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.
- When applying for additional fees over the course of the case, remember to
increase the plan payment in your proposed order.
- When a major event happens over the course of the case, remember to file a
modified plan when applicable.
Attorney Best Practices for Chapter 13 Practioners
Chapter 13 Standing Trustee