Our bankruptcy clients come to us with so many objections that I wonder why they bother to show up in the first place.
It’s as if they make an appointment solely to appease a loved one. Once their objections are validated, they’ll turn around with a smug look and say, “I told you bankruptcy was a bad idea!”
But we lawyers know that bankruptcy can help clear the way for a brighter financial future. To help make that happen, I subscribe to a simple rule: say it first.
When we wait for the objection, we’re put on the defensive. That weakens our position as a credible professional.
I prefer to speak to the objection before the client brings it up. In doing so, I can handle the objection and dispose of it effectively.
The client can’t bring it up again, my credibility goes through the roof, and we can move the process along more effectively.
For example, we know credit scores are important to our clients. You can wait for the question to creep up behind you, or you can handle it proactively.
Try this one out for size:
You’re probably thinking about your credit score after bankruptcy, and whether you’ll be able to get a mortgage or a car loan. Federal guidelines allow for FHA mortgages in as little 2 years after bankruptcy, which gives you a little time to build up your savings for a downpayment. As for cars, one of my clients got a loan from Ford Motor Credit on a new Expedition about 16 months after her discharge. She got the same financing deal that they were advertising on television, which was pretty good.
The story about the Ford Expedition, by the way, is true. So is the part about the federal mortgage guidelines.
I don’t need to tell you that you shouldn’t lie to clients. It’s kind of a big deal with state ethics committees. Also, your parents raised you better than that.
But if you sit down and identify your client’s most likely objections to bankruptcy, you’ve got a much better chance of clearing up problems before they arise.