Here is the link to a short but helpful article about small business bankruptcies in The Wall Street Journal. I am pleased that what I have suggested for many years finds favor with a Wall Street Journal columnist.
With most of my small service-based business customers, including businesses as varied as residential construction and restaurants, it usually makes sense to look at a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case filed as a personal case. I recommend this approach because in most cases, the small business’ debt is personally guaranteed by the business owners, whether the debt consists of Small Business Administration guaranteed loans, vehicle title loans or credit cards. Frequently, the business can keep right on operating, but of course you should consult with a qualified attorney before launching off into any sort of bankruptcy filing.
Ideas for Action: how do you find a qualified bankruptcy attorney? I suggest three ways.
First, ask the attorney how many cases he or she filed in the calendar year January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2006; the attorney can easily consult the computer program used to prepare the documents to find out how many cases were filed each year, and if fewer than 70 or so cases were filed by the attorney in 2006, then I say beware. You may have an attorney who just started out after the 2005 law change took effect but didn’t attend any of the important 2006 era seminars when the best education about the new 2005 law was then available.
Second, ensure that the attorney is “connected” professionally via memberships in both the American Bankruptcy Institute as well as NACBA, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney.
Third, ensure that over the past five years, the attorney has attended no fewer than five seminars for a total of no fewer than 50 hours of bankruptcy education since 2005.
These three suggested standards should help you ensure that you have engaged an experienced, professional attorney.