All attorneys are not created equally. Unfortunately, there is a plethora of evidence to suggest that it really is up to the client to properly vet any attorney they plan to employ. The recent case of an attorney who pleaded guilty to falsifying bankruptcy papers and "loaning" himself nearly $4 million dollars from a client's estate he was managing seems to emphasize the point.
Moyler was a longtime, respected lawyer in Franklin but was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2008. He and his wife declared $4.2 million in debts, but he failed to disclose that he had "borrowed" just under $4 million from a client, according to court records.
The records say that between 2000 and 2009 Moyler "converted for his personal benefit" the money from the estate of the client, Lucille Steinhardt. After her death, at age 101, none of her beneficiaries received any of those funds.
Moyler had initially been discharged from bankruptcy without having any funds to repay creditors, but a bankruptcy judge granted a motion by the United States to reopen the case. A hearing in the Newport News bankruptcy court is set for Feb. 19.
And while this attorney was not filing bankruptcy for clients, this situation can happen to debtors who need to file bankruptcy. If you are looking for a bankruptcy attorney, please do the following:
- Check their references. What does the bankruptcy attorney's clients have to say about them?
- Check their professional standing. Is the bankruptcy attorney new or experienced? Have there been any complaints by former clients against the bankruptcy attorney?
- Check their character and their willingness to really help you. When it comes to your personal finances you want a bankruptcy attorney who has empathy and is truly interested in helping people like you get a fresh financial start in bankruptcy.