Robert Joseph La Rocco - Attorney and Counselor at Law

Caring. Competent. Affordable.


Example: Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:
Example of a Case Timeline and a "Pay-As-You-Go" Plan

(The plan assumes that the client wishes a moderately fast progress)

Day 0        Initial Consultation.

We discuss your eligibility for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, and other options you may wish to consider. This consultation is FREE.

Day 1        You hire me as your bankruptcy attorney.

Collection calls stop and are answered by me instead of you, you make no more payments to any creditors and keep your earnings; the bankruptcy preparation process begins, documents are collected, and the bankruptcy petition begins to be prepared.

Pay-As-You-Go: Retainer $399

Day 5        Credit Counseling.

This is a requirement to be met before the bankruptcy petition can be filed. I and my staff will help you set this up; it is offered by non-profit organizations for little or no cost, and can be done online, in person, or over the phone.

Day 14      Petition is Filed.

Proceedings are “stayed,” i.e. they cannot proceed – wages can no longer be garnished, law suits are stopped, most creditor actions can no longer proceed.

Pay-As-You-Go: Court Filing Fee initial payment $100.

Day 15      Creditor Notification.

The bankruptcy court notifies creditors that a petition has been filed.

Pay-As-You-Go: Petition Preparation Fee $350

Day 49      Creditor Meeting.

A meeting is held with the creditors and the trustee of the bankruptcy court. You must attend, and I will accompany you to this meeting. Although called the “creditors’ meeting,” in consumer bankruptcy cases the creditors almost never attend this meeting. We will spend about an hour preparing for the meeting - but the meeting itself is usually very short, and typically lasts only a few minutes.

Pay-As-You-Go: Court Appearance $200


Day 80      Sale of Unexempt Property.

In the days following the creditors’ meeting, the trustee sells any unexempt assets that may exist for the benefit of the creditors. Many people who file a bankruptcy petition don’t have unexempt property; I will point out any unexempt property you may own well before a petition is filed.

Pay-As-You-Go: Second Court Filing Fee installment $100


Day 85      Financial Management Counseling.

This is a requirement that must be met before the debts can be discharged. My staff and I will help you set this up; it can be done online, in person, or over the phone, for little or no cost.

Pay-As-You-Go: Professional Services Fee $200


Day 109    Unsecured Creditors' Deadline.

Unsecured creditors must have filed their claims. (60 days after the creditors’ meeting)


Day 110    Discharge of Debts.

Debts are discharged and written off, sometimes with a few exceptions. More than 99% of all bankruptcy petition filers succeed in having their debts discharged.

Pay-As-You-Go: Final Court Filing Fee installment $106.


Although this timeline is only an illustration, it is very representative of a majority of bankruptcies; the actual timeline of each bankruptcy process varies with individual circumstances. A discharge may be obtained in as little as three or four months, but it can take longer if there are unforeseen circumstances or if there is bankruptcy-related litigation. Litigation in consumer bankruptcy, however, is very rare.

Pay-As-You-Go Plan: Attorney fees add up to $1,249.

Early Payment Savings Plan: Pay for all services when you hire me and the total attorney fees are set at $999, including all court appearances.

Custom Payment Plan: We can custom-tailor a payment plan for your specific needs!

Attorney fees include incidental fees and charges, such as any fees for pulling your credit report, and pre-filing and pre-discharge counseling. Call me and ask me for details. Attorney fees do not include the court filing fees.

The bankruptcy court charges a filing fee of $306 for a Chapter 7 filing, and $281 for a Chapter 13 filing; this fee is payable separately. The court fee can be waived in some circumstances; call me and ask me if you qualify for a waiver.

Total fees for a Chapter 7 filing, including attorney fees, court filing fees, pre-filing counseling, pre-discharge counseling, and credit report can be as low as $1,305.

Robert Joseph La Rocco ESQ, Attorneys - Civil, Bellingham, WA
Your first consultation is FREE.
Call me: (360) 603-9545
Caring. Competent. Affordable.