Your rights during bankruptcy – Do I have to have a lawyer to file bankruptcy?
Sound legal advice, preparation, and understanding of your rights are absolutely essential. There is no legal requirement that you be represented by an attorney in bankruptcy court, nor that you have an attorney prepare your bankruptcy documents. However, the risk of loss through error is high if you are without competent legal advice.
There are options besides being represented by an attorney or having an attorney prepare your documents, of course. There are paralegals and other persons who may prepare your documents for you at what appears to be a discounted price. Several of my clients have discovered the hard way, having previously attempted these proceedings without an attorney, that they got just about what they paid for. Remember, too, that, at the time of this writing among bankruptcy preparers only an attorney can carry professional liability (read “MALPRACTICE”) insurance that will cover any loss to the client resulting from errors in the attorney’s planning, preparation of the documents or conduct at hearings.
It has been my experience that an attorney is much less likely than a nonprofessional to make a costly error. I am pleased to report that no client of mine has ever had occasion to complain of a loss resulting from an error by my office.