How do I work and what would be the process of your bankruptcy case?
Malcolm Ruthven
Most ImportantYou and I are partners throughout this important journey in your life. From your first contact with me, you will never meet with, talk to, or email anyone in my office except me. At all times, I'm the one with full knowledge of the details of your case. Many attorneys and law firms operate differently; it's up to you to decide the type of representation you want.
Free ConsultationThe first step is the free consultation in which we explore your financial situation in enough detail to determine whether bankruptcy would be a good step for you and how much it would cost. We make the best use of this important consultation by preparing for it. Also, I don't see the point of making you come to my office for this because it can be done just as well over the telephone. For more on this, see Free Consultation.
What's Next?I send you an email containing a large questionnaire, a checklist of things you'll need to gather together, and a page discussing the credit counseling course you must take before filing bankruptcy.

Now it's your turn to do the work in this partnership. When you've completed the questionnaire, send it back to me for my review, and of course ask me questions any time along the way. You'll let me know when you've gathered the items in the checklist and completed the credit counseling course and then we'll set a time for the in-person meeting described next.
In-Person MeetingWe'll meet in person (offices in Sausalito, San Rafael, Novato, Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Emeryville, and San Francisco) to review together the questionnaire and the other items you've brought in. Note the "review together" part which is so important. I've never had this meeting without finding something in the questionnaire that needed changing; it's just a part of the process but one that is sadly missing when you don't meet in person with your attorney after you complete the questionnaire.
Now It's My Turn …to do the work. I take your questionnaire and gathered material, along with my notes of our meeting, and prepare your case for filing. It's also the time I usually see more things to ask you about, so be prepared for emails from me asking questions as I craft your filing papers to get the best possible result.
Review and SigningWhen I'm finished preparing your filing papers, I'll email them to you for your review. When you've completed that, we'll meet again for a final review and signing. Then…
I File Your Bankruptcy CaseI file your bankruptcy case electronically with the court. I email you immediately with the date, time, and place for your creditors meeting (approximately one month after the filing).
One More Small ThingYou complete a second course, this one called a financial management course, explained on the same page containing information about the credit counseling course you previously completed.
Creditors MeetingI'll be with you at your "creditors meeting", at which creditors almost never appear, in front of the trustee (not a judge) assigned to your case. Most clients are asked a few questions and are finished in a very few minutes. That's usually it. Now you wait for your …
Discharge of DebtsApproximately 2 months after the creditors meeting, I'll receive notice of your discharge of debts and will send it to you. Those debts are now gone. [This step is for Chapter 7 cases. Chapter 13 cases are more complex with more steps over a longer period of time.]
If you want to explore this furtherGo to my Free Consultation page to begin your own journey.