Posted on Feb 23, 2018

If you hire a bankruptcy lawyer off of the internet that says that they practice "nationally," you may run into problems. Recently, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia sanctioned and enjoined a law firm known as "Upright Law" for causing “unconscionable” harm to their clients, according to the Department of Justice.

The owners of this "national" firm tried to recruit me as one of their local lawyers at a bankruptcy legal conference some time ago. I declined. There are strict restrictions on lawyers "splitting fees" and to me, that is what this firm is or was doing. Not only that, who needs them? To my mind, someone contemplating bankruptcy should hire a local attorney that they can trust, that they can visit in person, someone that is familiar with the local bankruptcy customs, judges and trustees.

Anyway, the Virginia bankruptcy court found that UpRight Law and its attorneys systematically engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, provided inadequate representation to consumer debtor clients, and promoted and participated in a scheme to convert or take auto lenders’ collateral and then misrepresented the nature of that scheme, as announced by the U.S. Trustee, the federal "watchdog" over the U.S. bankruptcy system that went after them. 

The court also suspended UpRight’s ability to file bankruptcies in the Western District of Virginia for five years, and those of its local "partners" for 12 and 18 months, respectively. The bankruptcy court also sanctioned Sperro LLC (Sperro), an Indiana towing company that did not respond to the U.S. Trustee's complaints, and ordered the turnover of all funds it received in connection with bankruptcy cases in the district.

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J Thomas Black
Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization