Many people are predicting an avalanche of bankruptcies as the Covid relief packages begin to expire. Many lawyers and law firms are adding bankruptcy as a practice area in anticipation of that. When someone is looking for a bankruptcy attorney, she might end up with a bankruptcy mill.
A bankruptcy mill is a lawyer or law firm that treats clients like commodities. Think of a flour mill. Wheat comes in, it all goes through the same grinder, the same processes and it all comes out as flour. The objective of a flour mill is to turn as much wheat into as much flour in the shortest time as is possible.
It’s the same way with a bankruptcy mill. Clients come in, they go through the same process and they come out with a discharge. The objective is to process the most debtors in the shortest time possible. Some lawyers operate this way because of economics. Many clients choose their lawyer or law firm based on one criterion: cost. Whoever quotes the lowest cost gets the job. So these lawyers cut their fees to the bare bones and try to run as many clients through as possible, hoping to make money off of volume. Law is a business like everything else. The bankruptcy mill is one business model. But it’s not the only model.
Almost any competent lawyer can get a bankruptcy discharge in most cases. But bankruptcy is a big step, maybe a once-in-a-lifetime event, for most clients. Those clients want some personalized attention. They want to feel like their case is important to the lawyer, not just the legal equivalent of another bushel of wheat to be processed. A routine case to a lawyer is anything but routine to the client. Clients deserve someone who will be there to answer their questions. This is where the the mill business model breaks down. Bankruptcy mills aren’t set up to provide personalized attention because they are designed to process clients, and taking time with each individual client clogs up the works.
Another problem with the bankruptcy mill model is, a client might have a case that isn’t typical. In fact, there’s usually no such thing as a simple bankruptcy. Until the lawyer looks over your case, and sometimes not even until the lawyer is well into the case, it might not be apparent which kind of case that client’s is. I’ve written before about what to look for when choosing a bankruptcy attorney.
If you have bankruptcy questions, contact us here. Or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call or text (801) 413-3708.
We won’t put you through the grinder.