(Raised arm) I know! I know! I know! The Vocal Bankruptcy Attorney

A little bit of Q & A: a pet peeve

When it comes to literal pet peeves,  I am peeved by dogs that bark without pause, spoil San Diego bankruptcy attorney on public forum Q&Asmy lawn, and eat small children.  Pets that don’t peeve me are the small- to medium-size cute and furries with proper manners. When it comes to the “figurative” pet-peeve, I’m peeved by a limited number of contributing bankruptcy attorneys in certain Q & A websites.

These are websites where attorneys publish snappy- and less-snappy replies to commonly asked questions by either in propria persona bankruptcy-debtors or represented bankruptcy debtors with nonresponsive attorneys.  In this context we’ll address bankruptcy attorneys, though the problem certainly spans the spectrum of legal specialities.

The Q & A sites are laudable and mutually beneficial: the bankruptcy-seeking public acquires knowledge and the contributing bankruptcy attorney wins exposure.  The problem: not all who profess expertise, who purport knowledge, who speak freely are proficient bankruptcy attorneys. A “legal expert” is not necessarily an expert. Bankruptcy is a particularly hazardous field of law; insofar as everything is specialized, it is especially so.

With the recession, there’s been increased demand for bankruptcy attorneys by consumers. Consequently, many attorneys not devoted to the field dabble in bankruptcy.  The latest poll that I made up indicates there are 2.6 bankruptcy attorneys per capita in California.  Dilettantism is a danger: I frequently cringe at erroneous input from “bankruptcy” lawyers.  They are quick to put out their names at the expense of checking facts. It is not only inaccurate answers that trouble, but incomplete ones. Exceptions exist and reliance upon a narrowly-constructed answer can be fatal.

To the public seeking help in bankruptcy, I advise that online research is fine; yet, one should be wary of information that purports to be definitive. One should avoid a bankruptcy attorney’s facile,  conclusory and complacent input that is more obviously a plug than a help.

As a bankruptcy attorney, I contribute to such sites, yet I do so judiciously.  If the question is phrased awkwardly or its proper answering merits more facts, I won’t answer just to plug my name.  Be wary of essay answers; watch out for obsessive contribution-levels.  They are suspect.  From a practical standpoint, a bankruptcy attorney’s free input must be limited.  Retained bankruptcy clients must be taken care of and not suffer less attention for the sake of self-promotion, or even for an idealized sense of promoting public knowledge.  A bankruptcy attorney’s zealous advocacy and detail is owed first and foremost to the actual client.  Free time is at a premium and must be allocated to strictly-necessary pursuits like facebook-posting thousands of baby pictures that all look the same.

Affiliations: another pet peeve

Now, the state bar rightly prohibits any form of advertising that’s false.  Moreover, it rightly prohibits any form of advertising that is misleading.  Now, there are gray areas that if not misleading, at least contribute to hyperbole.  Consider logos and  professional associations. Joining professional memberships (various bar associations and the like outside the State Bar) is extremely helpful: they provide the bankruptcy attorney with continued legal education and info exchange. I’m proud of my active association with major groups including NACBA and SDCBA.  Yet, don’t believe the attorney with a laundry list of obscure “bars” has achieved special standing.  Nominal memberships are paid-for opportunities that aren’t acquired meritoriously. Similarly, periodicals and publications dispense superlatives of the like of SuperDuperAttorneys. Besides sounding goofy, such titles may be blatant advertising.  Certain paid-for “accreditations” amount to a  form of extorting the professional.

A sample of silliness is citation of admission to practice in a multiplicity of court venues.  It’s redundant: membership in a single state bar permits one to operate across the state; certain courts simply have the formality of a processed, fee-based application.

Ah, but we bankruptcy attorneys all self-promote; it’s just a matter of degree and… copping to it.

Blitzkrieg Advertising: yet another pet peeve

Bigger isn’t better when it comes to a bankruptcy attorney.  A bankruptcy attorney from a mom-and-pop law firm takes care of his clients; he draws referral business.  The bankruptcy behemoth (aka the bankruptcy attorney mill) makes grist of its clients.  The mill’s bankruptcy attorney must plaster his slogans on sides of buses; he strictly relies upon ad bucks to woo unsuspecting clients.  That type of bankruptcy attorney squanders resources on the bus, the bus under which is thrown the hapless bankruptcy client.

San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, Asaph Abrams Offering free, no-obligation chapter 7 bankruptcy and chapter 13 bankruptcy consultations in San Diego. Visit us online or call 858-240-6751. E-mail admin@abramslawsd.com to set an appointment. Also representing Imperial County residents.