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BRIAN M. DELAURENTIS Attorney at Law
36 West 44th Street, Suite 911 | New York, New York 10036 | tel 212.354.6300 fax 212.954.5081 | Brian@DeLaurentisLaw.com
Bankruptcy

I have represented creditors and debtors both in and out of bankruptcy since 1995. I am fully familiar with the bankruptcy process. My goal, whether you owe or are owed money is to look for your best economic result. Bankruptcy is just one option to achieve that goal, there is more than one way to approach the problem.

Debtors
At this time, I am only representing business related debtors.

If you are having trouble meeting payroll and paying the bills, please do not wait and hope it will work out. Call me now, because as the problems worsen so do the options to get things back on the right track.

Creditors
In representing creditors, I understand that your paramount concern is collecting the debt without legal fees that will swallow the debtor's payments. I have found that candor backed with action works best with honest debtors. With dishonest debtors, the best course is swift and sure steps to collect without bothering to negotiate because there is no need to talk with a liar.

Even when a debtor files for bankruptcy, you can recover money owed you. Creditors can and do receive payment from bankrupts. I have represented several creditors that successfully recovered at least part of the debt owed them. Please call or email me to see what I can do to assist you.

Example: Client H was a commodities trader due $2.3 million in annual trading profits, plus a $300,000 deposit when his clearing house filed for bankruptcy. I successfully represented the trader's heir (he died during the litigation) in recovering most of the amount due him even though the clearing house was bankrupt. I then drafted a trust for the benefit of Client H's children so this money would be used for their benefit over their lives.

Bankruptcy Procedures
The theory of bankruptcy is that honest people make mistakes and get in over their heads. As a society, we have decided that someone unable to pay their debts should have an opportunity to move on with his/her life without spending the rest of their days in debt and saddled with bad credit. Thus, bankruptcy is the legal vehicle that allows honest debtors to be relieved of paying most debts so that they can go on with their lives.

Sometimes, businesses need some time and breathing space to re-order their debts in Chapter 11 so as to have a fair opportunity to pay creditors more than what they'd receive in liquidating the business. Similarly, Chapter 13 is the parallel version for the individual. Finally, both businesses and individuals have Chapter 7 liquidation is available when there is not enough on hand or on the horizon to make continuing worthwhile.

The court protects the debtor through the "bankruptcy stay." The stay requires all creditors to immediately stop attempting to collect any debts from you. Without express court permission, creditors can be liable to you if they continue to collect from you after the effective date of the bankruptcy stay.

The court schedules a "Meeting of Creditors" after the case is commenced and the bankruptcy stay is in place. The meeting is presided over by a Trustee. The Trustee's job is to maximize the value of your assets for the benefit of all creditors (not you!) and to verify that the asset/liability listings and that the debtor qualifies for bankruptcy protection. The Trustee is the Debtor's adversary, and not necessarily a particular creditor's friend in this process.

Following the Meeting of Creditors, the creditors and the Trustee are provided time to make objections to your bankruptcy petition or other claims on your estate.

Chapter 11 (and 13) debtors then have time to put forth a repayment plan that exceeds liquidation value. Once the plan is confirmed, the bankruptcy court discharges the remaining of your debts existed on the date you filed the bankruptcy.

Chapter 11 is expensive but allows many debtors more flexibility, particularly those who are sole proprietors of small businesses. It operates best in a temporary crisis situation. As one bankruptcy judge told me, "it's an expensive luxury." While that is true, Chapter 11 can make the difference between a failed business and the poverty that goes with it on one hand, and living to fight another day on the other.

For Chapter 11 creditors, the goal is to get as close to the front of the creditors' line as possible, and hopefully be paid as soon as possible.