Episode x005 – LegalHelpers Turmoil

Jay S. Fleischman and Eugene Melchionne discuss on this episode of Debt Podcast the turmoil surrounding LegalHelpers, also known as Macey & Aleman, regarding alleged problems with bankruptcy petitions filed by this law firm.

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About Jay Fleischman

Jay S. Fleischman is a New York bankruptcy lawyer, co-founder and past President of Bankruptcy Law Network, and the co-founder of Money Health Central. When he's not wondering which hat to wear, Jay enjoys spending time with his family and friends.
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One Response to Episode x005 – LegalHelpers Turmoil

  1. Recovering Helper says:

    The CBS news story you are referring to was really disappointing – not because anything they said was incorrect, but because they really didn’t come close to documenting the worst of what goes on inside Legal Helpers. Reading the comments to the story are instructive – I can personally verify most of the allegations made by former staff. Although I write this comment anonymously, I will gladly speak with either of you by phone to verify this (you, the Podcasters may also recognize my email address from the NACBA listserv).

    The most outrageous conduct by Legal Helpers includes:
    1. Allowing 15-20 minutes for new client meetings.
    2. Requiring attorneys to sign up approximately 70% of all potential new clients.
    3. Failing to follow various state’s laws that require filing fees to be kept in a trust account.
    4. A massive failure to train all attorneys on bankruptcy law. The training emphasis is on sales.
    5. A massive failure to train and maintain staff. This leads to lost files, lost mail, and even the failure to open mail for weeks at a time. Often, by the time the mail is processed, the client must provide another month’s paystubs and bank statements before their petition can be prepared (and this cycle goes on endlessly).
    6. Every time an attorney attends a meeting of creditors calendar, they can expect 1/4 or more of the petitions to need major revisions (so contrary to your speculation, the changes are not made before filing). The attitude of the managing attorney that hired me was “file it now, amend it later.” This in spite of the fact that the client testifies under oath to the accuracy of the petition, and often has requested multiple times that changes be made.
    7. The first response to client complaints at every level is to blame the clients. I one day overheard an attorney (who had evidently drunk too much of their Kool-Aid) explain to clients with a straight face that it was THEIR FAULT she had lost their documents.

    Some of the worst damage was done to clients who were instructed at the initial meeting to stop paying their creditors, only to find out a year or more later that they fail the means test. In one case, the clients had stopped paying their bills at their attorney’s instruction, only to find two years later that they had to file a 100% chapter 13 plan. After a month on the job I knew enough to about bankruptcy to recognize that the attorney who signed them up had made a huge mistake in telling them they could do a chapter 7, but this is very illustrative of the lack of experience and training that their poor associates have.

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