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Best Bankruptcy Attorneys in San Francisco

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Alexsis C. Beach & Rachel Lederman, Attorneys logo
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Alexsis C. Beach & Rachel Lederman, Attorneys

1720 Broadway, Suite 430, Oakland, CA 94612
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Alexsis C. Beach & Rachel Lederman, Attorneys offers legal solutions concerning personal bankruptcy to San Francisco clients. Beach oversees the assessment of a client's assets and debts and formulates actionable options for specified financial needs in chapter 7 bankruptcy filings. She also offers comprehensive consultations involving the filing process to keep clients informed regarding specific requirements and technicalities. Beach is a member of the San Francisco Tenants Union's Steering Committee and a panel attorney for UNITE HERE! Local 2's Exemplar Legal Services plan.

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We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)

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Bankruptcy Law Center of Thomas R. Burns logo
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Bankruptcy Law Center of Thomas R. Burns

1390 Market St 200, San Francisco, CA 94102
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Credit Card Debt

Business Description

The Bankruptcy Law Center of Thomas R. Burns serves clients in San Francisco. Burns has been a bankruptcy lawyer for over 23 years and is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA). He helps clients deal with Chapter 7 bankruptcies, where debt can be eliminated, and Chapter 3 bankruptcies, where a partial repayment plan is imposed by the court. He also deals with asset protection, foreclosures, lien stripping, and repossession.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.6
Google
5.0 / 5 (5)

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5.0
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Chua Tinsay & Vega logo
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Chua Tinsay & Vega

605 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Chua Tinsay & Vega is a law firm serving clients in San Francisco. It assists clients in filing for chapter seven, chapter 11, and chapter 13 bankruptcy claims to prevent creditors from pursuing collection actions on discharged debts. The firm has more than 25 years of legal experience in California law, U.S. immigration law, and Philippine law. It has facilitated family reunification through family-based and employment-based petitions. Chua Tinsay & Vega is composed of attorneys Dennis E. Chua, Jean Tinsay, and Aurora Vega-Buzon.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Google
4.9 / 5 (18)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (8)

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5.0
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Dunning Law Group logo
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Dunning Law Group

2000 Van Ness Ave #602, San Francisco, CA 94109
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Dunning Law Group serves individuals and small businesses in San Francisco. The mid-size firm advocates for the rights of clients who are struggling with their finances and provides legal assistance in matters related to chapters 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcies. It also helps in building business structures for corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships. Attorneys at the Dunning Law Group have more than three decades of criminal and civil law experience. The firm also assists clients who speak Spanish and Chinese.

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4.4
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (4)
Google
3.7 / 5 (3)

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EH Law Group logo
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EH Law Group

201 Spear Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

EH Law Group is a team of bankruptcy lawyers assisting clients around the Bay area. The firm has offices in San Francisco and San Mateo. Equipped with a decade of experience, lawyers Eddy Hsu, Grace Ho, and Tina Phan focus on legal matters concerning chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy. For immediate relief from unsecured debts, the lawyers guide clients through chapter 7 bankruptcy. For payment plans with minimal interest, clients can discuss the San Mateo chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Google
4.9 / 5 (8)

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Farella Braun + Martel LLP logo
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Farella Braun + Martel LLP

235 Montgomery St Fl 17, San Francisco, CA 94104
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Corporate Restructuring
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Farella Braun + Martel LLP is a law firm in San Francisco, California, which handles litigation surrounding bankruptcy cases brought under bankruptcy code or non-bankruptcy laws. Areas of experience include fraudulent transfer claims, fraud and other misconduct claims, preference actions, and breaches of fiduciary duty. The firm also handles cases involving equitable subordination claims and claims that attempt to recharacterize debts as equity as well as claims of alter egos or judiciary decisions to piercing the corporate vale.

Reputation:

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4.5
Google
4.5 / 5 (8)

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4.0
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FINKEL Law Group logo
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FINKEL Law Group

77 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102
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  • Creditor Representation

Business Description

The Finkel Law Group has been serving San Francisco residents for more than 15 years. It offers legal representation to trustees, debtors, creditors, and official and unofficial committees in various aspects of bankruptcy law. The firm handles business restructurings, liquidations, reorganizations, and bankruptcy proceedings. Its team also litigates disputes involving intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, and securities and corporate finance. Principal partner Lonnie Finkel worked for several large firms, including Fields & Younger, LeBouef, and McCutchen, before establishing his practice.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (18)

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Hindley Law Office logo
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Hindley Law Office

447 Sutter Street Suite 705-A, San Francisco, CA 94108
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Hindley Law Office’s bankruptcy lawyers represent clients in and around San Francisco, North Bay, and Oakland. The firm offers informative legal counsel to individuals and organizations facing challenging financial situations. Its attorney, Reginald Hindley, handles chapter 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcies. He also assists with IRS debt and tax relief. The law firm has an office in Santa Rosa to serve clients in Sonoma, Napa, and Marin Counties. Hindley Law Office has over 30 years in the industry.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (1)

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We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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John Hansen Law logo
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John Hansen Law

582 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94104
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

John Hansen Law practices business and municipal bankruptcy, representing San Francisco-based debtors, creditors, committees, labor unions, landlords, and retirees in chapters 11, 9, and 7. With more than 25 years of experience, sole practitioner John T. Hansen has been handling reorganization and liquidation cases. He also served as counsel to the Transportation Corridor Agencies in the Orange County municipal bankruptcy, which became the country's largest municipal bankruptcy case, assisting them in recovering 95% of their $350 million investment.

Kasowitz Benson Torres logo
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Kasowitz Benson Torres

101 California St Suite 3000, San Francisco, CA 94111
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

Kasowitz Benson Torres is a law group that serves individuals and businesses in San Francisco. It represents debtors and creditors in bankruptcy cases, handling matters like restructurings, out-of-work cutouts, insolvency, and litigation. The firm crafts strategies tailored to the client's needs, and it pursues aggressive action whenever necessary. The company has represented notable corporations such as Toys "R" Us, MDC Energy, and Hercules Offshore. CNBC described its founder and managing partner, Marc Kasowitz, as Wall Street's tough lawyer.

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We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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Keller Benvenutti Kim logo
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Keller Benvenutti Kim

650 California St, Suite 1900, San Francisco, CA 94108
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

Keller Benvenutti Kim LLP is a corporate bankruptcy law firm founded in 2013. It caters to distressed companies, creditors’ committees, investors, and purchasers in the San Francisco area requiring legal assistance with chapter 11 bankruptcy. It also represents clients in restructuring and litigation cases. The partners at the firm have been inducted as Fellows of the American College of Bankruptcy. Their experience encompasses businesses from diverse industries, including real estate, biotech, healthcare, hospitality, and professional services.

Law Office of Shaye Larkin logo
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Law Office of Shaye Larkin

631 O'Farrell Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
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  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

The Law Office of Shaye Larkin offers legal advice and representation to San Francisco and the surrounding areas. The legal office aids individuals who are in financial trouble in filing chapters 7 and 13 bankruptcy. Its sole practitioner examines its clients' unique financial situations to determine which of the two is more suitable for them. The firm provides personalized attention to each case. Larkin also helps individuals in protecting their assets by creating estate plans according to their wishes.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (138)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (17)
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)
Law Offices of Patrick J. McNamara logo
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Law Offices of Patrick J. McNamara

769 Monterey Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94102
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Offices of Patrick J. McNamara serves clients in San Francisco seeking debt relief. For over 37 years, McNamara has been offering legal representation in chapter 7 liquidation and chapter 13 debt adjustment cases. He advises clients on which petitions to file according to their debt situations. Helping clients fight back and obtain bankruptcy relief, he educates them about the challenges of the newly enacted bankruptcy law. McNamara is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

Law Offices of Ronald P. St. Clair logo
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Law Offices of Ronald P. St. Clair

100 Pine Street, Suite 1250, San Francisco, CA 94131
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Offices of Ronald P. St. Clair counsels clients in San Francisco. The firm helps individuals file for chapters 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcies, advising them on which to file and assisting them with the petition. It aids in stopping creditor harassment, foreclosures, repossessions, lawsuits, and tax collections and helps them obtain a fresh start. It also handles business law and family law concerns such as divorce, child custody, and alimony. The office has been handling bankruptcy petitions for over three decades.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.3
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (1)
Avvo
3.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Macdonald Fernandez LLP logo
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Macdonald Fernandez LLP

221 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA 94104
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Macdonald Fernandez LLP helps clients in San Francisco with their bankruptcy matters. It handles chapter 7 bankruptcy cases to help entrepreneurs liquidate their assets and pay the debts to their creditors. It also offers chapter 11 bankruptcy that allows businesses to improve their operations, undo certain transactions, reform troubled assets, and reject contracts or leases. Its founder, Iain A. Macdonald, has over four decades of experience in handling bankruptcy law. He has served on the Northern District of California's mediator panel.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (6)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (5)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (2)
Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones logo
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Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones

One Market Plaza, Spear Tower 40th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105
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  • Debt Settlement
  • Creditor Representation

Business Description

Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones handles bankruptcy cases for clients in San Francisco. Drawing on 30 years of bankruptcy law experience, its bankruptcy litigators are prepared to represent debtors, creditors, and trustees in various dispute resolution forums. They work closely with the law firm's restructuring attorneys to deliver the best possible outcomes for clients, whether in litigation, mediation, or arbitration. Dean Ziehl, a managing partner at the firm, has been involved with the high-profile chapter 11 cases of Lehman Brothers, Mike Tyson, and Chrysler Corporation.

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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Regal Tax & Law Group, PC. logo
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Regal Tax & Law Group, PC.

4 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA 94111
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  • IRS Tax Debt

Business Description

Regal Tax & Law Group, PC is a law firm serving San Francisco and San Diego areas. While it is primarily a tax law firm, it has bankruptcy attorneys who are well-versed in both practices, as they often go hand-in-hand. These attorneys have over 10 years of experience in providing sound legal counsel to clients struggling with their finances, representing both individuals and businesses. They take time to assess and present the options available to the client, keeping in mind their best interests.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (13)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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Rimon, P.C. logo
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Rimon, P.C.

1 Embarcadero Ctr Ste 400, San Francisco, CA 94111
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  • Creditor Representation
  • Corporate Restructuring
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Rimon PC is a law firm in San Francisco, California, which represents debtors, secured and unsecured creditors, and other parties in proceedings and disputes concerning chapter 11 bankruptcy claims. This firm has international reach and experience with every aspect of bankruptcy and financial insolvency issues, spearheading litigation when necessary and handling workouts with opposing parties to help clients reach mutually agreeable conclusions and mitigate financial losses. This practice advises a wide breath of clients from multinational corporations to small businesses.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (14)
Yelp
4.5 / 5 (2)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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––
Sheppard Mullin logo
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Sheppard Mullin

Four Embarcadero Center Seventeenth Floor, San Francisco, CA 94111
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Creditor Representation
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Sheppard Mullin is a full-service global firm that has been serving clients in the San Francisco metro since 1927. It takes on bankruptcy cases and provides legal representation for lenders, debtors, bank groups, and equity holders. It also handles labor and employment law cases and helps individuals who are victims of unfair labor practices receive compensation for their pain and suffering. The firm's chair of the executive committee, Lucantonio N. Salvi, is a member of the National Italian American Foundation.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.5
Google
4.5 / 5 (6)

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We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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Steptoe & Johnson LLP logo
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Steptoe & Johnson LLP

One Market Plaza Spear Tower Suite 3900, San Francisco, CA 94105
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Corporate Restructuring
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Steptoe & Johnson LLP is a law firm in San Francisco, California, assisting clients with bankruptcy cases. It specifically offers legal assistance to commercial entities experiencing litigation related to financial insolvency or bankruptcy claims filed by the client or other entities. Its attorneys represent clients against opposing parties to protect them from significant financial losses and prevent fraud or other abusive practices. This firm also provides assistance with restructuring processes following judgements or bankruptcy.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.0

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We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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The Bankruptcy Center of John D. Raymond logo
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License Verified:

License: 129599

The State Bar of California

The Bankruptcy Center of John D. Raymond

2000 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94109
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Bankruptcy Center of John D. Raymond is a bankruptcy law firm addressing financial concerns through a system of creative legal solutions. For more than 20 years, the firm has assisted clients in San Francisco Bay surrounding California area with matters related to chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies and obtaining debt relief. Lawyer John D. Raymond counsels clients in credit rehabilitation, saving their houses from foreclosures and eliminating harassing collection calls.

License Verified:

License: 129599

The State Bar of California

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.5
Google
5.0 / 5 (39)

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We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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The Bankruptcy Law Offices of Eric J. Gravel logo
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The Bankruptcy Law Offices of Eric J. Gravel

1390 Market Street, Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94102
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Bankruptcy Law Offices of Eric J. Gravel serve the San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo Counties. Gravel is a specialist in bankruptcy law as certified by the State Bar of California. Together with his team, they help clients choose the right type of bankruptcy, guide them through the filing process, and give them alternatives if there are any. They also assist with audit representation, bankruptcy litigation, and loan modification.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (26)

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We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Trodella & Lapping LLP logo
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Trodella & Lapping LLP

540 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
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  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

Trodella & Lapping LLP offers legal services for bankruptcy-related cases throughout San Francisco. It represents parties in bankruptcy court to obtain court and creditor approval in a contested context. One of the firm's attorneys, Robert A. Trodella, Jr., has led litigations and contentious motion issues in and outside of bankruptcy court, which inspired his approach to structuring deals on the front end. Some companies he has worked with are Total Gas & Power, Kimpton Hotels, Countrywide Corporation, and Wells Fargo Bank.

VLP Law Group LLP logo
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VLP Law Group LLP

555 Bryant Street, Suite 820, Palo Alto, CA 94301
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
  • Creditor Representation

Business Description

VLP Law Group LLP handles bankruptcy cases in San Francisco, representing clients across a broad spectrum of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, and real estate. The firm’s bankruptcy and creditor’s rights head, Mark Taylor, brings more than two decades’ worth of experience. He is a certified fraud examiner and certified information privacy professional. He also assists clients in dissolving debt outside of the bankruptcy process. The law firm’s other practice areas include litigation and dispute resolution, executive compensation, and technology transactions.

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We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
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Frequently Asked Questions

What does a bankruptcy attorney do?

Bankruptcy attorneys help clients understand whether they qualify for bankruptcy and what their best options are. They also prepare and file petitions, answer questions during the proceedings, and educate clients about potential best steps for a positive bankruptcy outcome. Bankruptcy attorneys might also file motions or paperwork if creditors dispute the bankruptcy, or to stop creditors from taking collections actions forbidden by the bankruptcy.

What happens when you file bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a formal process that individuals, married couples, or businesses can enact when they are no longer able to pay creditors. In a bankruptcy proceeding, filers are allowed to reduce debt to more manageable levels to best pay off money owed.

Once the bankruptcy process is initiated, debt collectors can no longer seek repayments outside of the arrangements detailed in the bankruptcy settlement. Some forms of bankruptcy result in the liquidation of assets to pay back debts, while others allow filers to retain most of their possessions and investments. Many types of unsecured debt can be managed with bankruptcy filings, but not all.

Can you file bankruptcy on student loans?

Under most circumstances, student loans aren't dischargeable and aren't included in bankruptcy proceedings. In rare cases, it may be possible to eliminate student loans through bankruptcy, but only if the courts determine that continuing to pay the loans would impose an undue hardship. Meeting the criteria for undue hardship is challenging, and most bankruptcy filers don't qualify.

What is bankruptcy fraud?

Bankruptcy fraud is a blanket term that refers to any kind of dishonest bankruptcy proceeding, which can include:

  • Hiding assets by transferring them to another person or entity
  • Intentionally omitting assets when reporting to the court
  • Destroying or withholding required documents
  • Knowingly making false statements to bankruptcy trustees or creditors

How long is bankruptcy on public record?

How long bankruptcy stays on public record depends on the kind of bankruptcy filing in question. Chapter 7 bankruptcy remains on the record for 10 years as there isn't necessarily a repayment component. Chapter 13 bankruptcy remains on the record for seven years as some obligations are repaid following filing based on the terms of a discharge settlement.

Does bankruptcy clear tax debt?

Bankruptcy can clear tax debt, depending on the circumstances. Taxes are dischargeable under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, not Chapter 13, and only if the tax debt is:

  • Federal income tax debt related to current properly filed tax returns
  • Honestly incurred with no fraud or evasion
  • At least three years old
  • Assessed at least 240 days before bankruptcy filings

Existing liens are not eliminated with bankruptcy.


Can they take my car in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

In many cases, it's possible to keep a vehicle following Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The Chapter 7 Motor Vehicle Exemption allows filers who own their vehicles outright or who are up to date with payments to keep their cars. However, those behind on making car payments are required to arrange a repayment plan. Otherwise, the vehicle may be repossessed as a part of the proceedings.

How bad is it to file bankruptcy twice?

Although possible, due to the damaging nature of bankruptcy, filing bankruptcy more than once isn't recommended. Filing multiple times puts a serious burden on one's credit report, making it harder to get a loan, buy a house, buy a car, or even open credit cards.

Note that filing for bankruptcy isn't something that can be done at a filer's leisure. There are time limits following bankruptcy cases that dictate when it's permissible to file again. For example, after Chapter 7 bankruptcy, filers must wait at least eight years before filing Chapter 7 again or four years before filing Chapter 13.

Can anyone file bankruptcy?

Anyone can file bankruptcy, but there are limitations regarding which form of bankruptcy is permissible. Qualifying for Chapter 7 requires a means test that evaluates income, debt levels, and income left over each month after paying basic obligations. Income over the median set by the court and monthly income that allows meaningful payments toward unsecured debt can disqualify filers from Chapter 7, which is generally the preferred form of bankruptcy due to the possibility of a full discharge. Anyone can file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but the terms are less favorable. In most cases, some debts must be repaid following a successful filing. Chapter 13 is also more likely to result in asset forfeiture.

How will bankruptcy affect my credit score?

Bankruptcies are noted on credit reports. How much a bankruptcy might drop a person's credit score depends on how high the score was to begin with, but generally speaking, the hit can be as much as 100 to 200 points. Often scores are already dropping because people filing for bankruptcy may have already missed payments on debts. Chapter 13 bankruptcies are listed on credit reports for seven years from the filing date, while Chapter 7 bankruptcies are listed for 10 years from the filing date. This is because Chapter 13 bankruptcies require at least partial payment of debts owed.

What are the benefits of filing for bankruptcy?

Filing a bankruptcy petition causes an automatic stay. This legally stops creditors from taking further action to collect debt, including garnishing wages or foreclosing on property. Going through a bankruptcy successfully means that debts included in the bankruptcy are discharged and don't have to be paid back, except as provided in a Chapter 13 repayment plan. Bankruptcy can help someone recover from financial duress so they can make better decisions and improve financial situations in the future. Disadvantages can include temporary lower credit scores and limitations on spending and financing.

What's the difference between debt settlement and bankruptcy?

Debt settlement occurs when people negotiate with individual creditors. The creditor agrees to take a payment that's lower than what someone owes and call the debt “paid in full.” Bankruptcy is a legal process that causes debts to be dismissed after someone proves they don't currently have the means to pay their debts as owed. Typically, someone can't enter into bankruptcy and also settle some debts, because the court would see that as favoring one creditor over another.

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