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Dressing For Bankruptcy


Competent and experienced attorneys often will go as far as to even tell a client how to dress at their Bankruptcy hearing called the “Meeting of Creditors.”  Often clients are unaware of the appropriate way to dress and will overdress.  A humorous example of what went wrong in one of my cases when I was a young lawyer goes like this.

At the time I did not think of telling my clients how to dress when they came to their Meeting of Creditors.  An older client, a very nice lady actually, appeared at the Courthouse dressed in a full length fur coat and covered from head to toe in what appeared to be diamonds.
The story goes like this.  As she and I had arranged the day before, I meet “Mildred” in the hallway of the Bankruptcy Courthouse and am blinded by her “bling.”   I say to Mildred, "Why are you all dressed up?" She replies "I have a lot of respect for the Court and I wanted to dress my best."  I respond, “Mildred, not only do you look your best, but you look like you have a million dollars!"  To this,  Mildred replies,  "Don't be silly this a fake fur coat and cubic zirconia jewelry; it's fake, I don't think the jewelry I am wearing is worth more than $50 dollars."  “Mildred, believe it or not, much that goes on at this hearing is based upon appearances and your appearance is inappropriate," I inform her.
Mildred’s appearance gave the false impression that she was wealthy.  Mildred insisted that since the items were of no value, there was no harm in wearing them.  The problem is that a Trustee might feel compelled to seize the jewelry to examine whether the jewelry was real or not, waste a lot of time, and hold up Mildred’s case for months, unnecessarily.
So, I told Mildred to meet me around the corner in a stairwell of the building.   I told Mildred to hand me the jewelry, which she did, and I filled my pockets with her fake jewelry.  As Mildred handed me the jewelry, a person from a different case walked by and went down to the guards to report that a woman was being robbed.  The guards came up and detained me while they questioned Mildred as to whether or not I had in fact robbed her.  Mildred allayed their fears and had me released and we went forward with her hearing.  She left her coat on her chair, came forward and testified simply, without the costume jewelry, and her case went through fine.  True Story!
The moral of this story is that good consumer Bankruptcy attorneys prepare their clients for the hearings on all fronts:  How to act, how to testify, how to answer questions, what questions the client will be asked in the Bankruptcy Court hearing and, yes, what to wear. This is just one of many reasons to have competent, experienced attorneys that have done numerous Bankruptcy cases in front of numerous Bankruptcy trustees, and who pay attention to detail. It is of great help to have a very experienced attorney, such as those at Doyaga & Schaefer to handle your case. Our fees are reasonable and do not hesitate to call us at Doyaga & Schaefer.  My name is David J. Doyaga, Sr., my daughter is Elizabeth Doyaga, Esq. and my partner is Patrick K. Schaefer, Esq.  We will be happy to help you get your bankruptcy through.

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