Training Topics

Max Gardner’s Bankruptcy Bootcamp

What You’ll Learn and How it Can Mean Money for You and Your Clients

Intro and Welcome: Traditional consumer bankruptcy firms are leaving millions of dollars on the table—dollars that could be claimed for their clients and themselves.  In the opening sessions of Max’s Bankruptcy Bootcamp, you’ll learn:

  • How widespread securitization effects your clients obligations
  • What creditors’ attorneys don’t know about their clients and how you can use it to your clients’ advantage
  • How a debt of less than $2,000 turned into nearly $800,000 worth of discharge violations
  • Inside information about mortgage servicer outsourcing and the cracks in their processes
  • How to spot a false affidavit and what to do about it

The Client – Getting Started: From websites Max considers critical to a successful consumer bankruptcy practice to “getting started” forms and processes, Max shares:

  • The technology he uses to streamline his workflow and secure client data
  • Intake documents and procedures, including:
    • Mandatory document checklist
    • Initial consultation agreement
    • Tips on breaking the ice and establishing the attorney-client relationship
  • How he chooses which clients he will represent
  • How the gift of a tape recorder to every client yields an incredible return on investment

The Client – Client Education and Pre-Petition Claims: Getting your clients to follow simple instructions to the letter can mean thousands of dollars back in their pockets and increased fees in yours.  Max explains how he:

  • Trains clients to effectively gather evidence against servicers and debt collectors
  • Gets clients to buy in and commit to the process
  • Turns that evidence into cash back for his clients and revenues for his firm

Max also describes how he uses strict liability statutes to bring claims against collection agencies before the petition is ever filed.  Learn:

  • The mistake most collection agencies make in training their employees, and how you can use it to your clients’ advantage
  • The statutes that allow pre-petition claims when collection agencies make contact
  • Review and receive copies of the forms and pleadings Max uses to prosecute these claims

Technology in Your Office – Taking Control of Your Practice: Most of us know how a law practice can begin to drive our lives.  Max and one of his virtual assistants share his strategies for ensuring that he’s in the driver’s seat, including:

  • Increasing service to every client and maximizing revenues
  • Using secure servers to share information and collaborate
  • Making the most of lesser known features of common software programs rather than investing in expensive technology
  • The role of virtual assistants in his processes
    • Selecting and hiring virtual assistants
    • Confidentiality issues
    • How he trains virtual assistants
    • Virtual assistant compensation
    • Delegation to virtual assistants
  • The bankruptcy software he uses and alternative software options

Pre-Filing Procedures – Groundwork and Information-Gathering: Max begins laying the groundwork for his fight against predatory lenders from the first moment he meets with a client—and you should, too.  Learn how he:

  • Collects information about his clients’ debts before servicers know a bankruptcy filing is in the works
  • Uses Qualified Written Requests (QWRs) to set up litigation claims for weeks, months and possibly years to come
  • Constructs those QWRs to ensure that you get the documents you need
  • Identifies irregularities in responsive documents
    • Combats bogus answers and non-answers
  • Uses those documents once they’re in hand
  • Turns Requests for Admissions into a powerful tool for his clients
  • Examines previous correspondence for existing RESPA claims
  • Protects pre-petition claims against inadvertent waiver

Max also shares information about how some Bootcamp graduates are using the Gramm Leach Bliley Act in their bankruptcy practices.

Pre-Filing Procedures – Fee Agreements: Some bankruptcy attorneys unwittingly collect fees illegally, in violation of the automatic stay.  Max reviews:

  • His fee agreement
  • His strict rules for client communication
  • Contracts with virtual assistants
  • Other client agreements, including
    • Power of attorney
    • Rules for representing an incompetent debtor

Pre-Filing Procedures – Bankruptcy Petition: Max walks step by step through the bankruptcy petition and schedules:

  • Sample bankruptcy petition
  • Schedules A and B, including how Max lists potential claims against creditors
  • Schedules D, E and, including why Max disputes all creditors’ secured claims and how he provides notice to all potential parties to the dispute
  • The market for discharged debt and how Max addresses unsecured creditors’ claims
  • The benefits of listing as many debt collectors as possible in the schedules

Pre-Filing Procedures – Bankruptcy Petition – Mortgage Debt: Most mortgage proofs of claim contain serious errors.  The flipping, slicing and dicing of the past decade often means that the paper trail has been lost or broken.   Max discusses:

  • Arguing that the mortgage note is not secured by the home
  • What happens when the mortgage debt becomes unsecured
  • Fighting foreclosure
  • Mortgage modifications

Pre-Filing Procedures – Bankruptcy Petition – Executory Contracts: Max discusses Schedule G and executory contracts, with an emphasis on rejecting any contractual provision relating to claim arbitration.

The Chapter 13 Plan – Plan Summary and General Provisions: Constructing a Chapter 13 plan that truly protects your client requires great care, and there are pitfalls and opportunities many seasoned bankruptcy attorneys aren’t aware of.  Max describes:

  • Combining motions with the plan
  • Why 1306 plans are superior to 1327 plans and how to work in 1306 language
  • How 524(i) provides a powerful weapon against creditors who misapply or delay application of payments to generate fees
    • Responses to typical secured creditor arguments against the 524(i) language
  • Uniform covenants in recent mortgage notes/deeds of trust and how they limit lenders’ fees
  • Mandatory application of payments provisions that are typically ignored by servicers (and why servicers claim they can’t or won’t correct their systems)
  • The dollar value Max places on various types of claims
  • His strategy when the debtor wants to keep an automobile
  • When and how he sends notice of Chapter 13 filing and warning about the automatic stay
  • Preparation for the 341 meeting

Chapter 13 – Post-Filing Forms and Letters: Max shares post-filing forms and letters, including various QWRs, letters to the debtor and to creditors and more.

  • Conversion chart to determine when a case can be converted from one chapter to another
  • The reason for waiting 45-60 days after the initial client meeting to file
  • Why you should question anything that’s unclear in creditor documents
  • Additional QWR issues
  • How Max has been able to recover money from “debt settlement” companies and through other preference turnover demands
  • The importance of “pattern and practice” evidence

Discharge and Dismissal: Wrapping up the bankruptcy case requires as much care as the initial meeting and filing.  Max discusses:

  • The dangers of failing to comply with the financial management requirement
  • Strategies for protecting your client’s credit rating
    • Process for notifying credit reporting agencies
      • Who Max lists and why
    • Highlights of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
    • FICO scores
  • Using Adversary Proceedings to prosecute discharge violations

Motions and Pleadings:  Max shares motions and pleadings for some additional issues you may encounter in a bankruptcy case, such as:

  • Physical damage to property
  • Preference recovery
  • Affidavits to avoid liens
  • Motion to continue the automatic stay
    • Warnings and qualifications
    • Alternatives
  • Motion for discharge
    • Hardship discharge

Securitization Basics: Max overviews securitization, the problems it’s caused and the doors it opens for debtors, beginning with:

  • The history of traditional loans versus loans made over the past 15 years
  • How understanding securitization helps you and your clients
    • Transform secured creditors into unsecured creditors by attacking the note
    • Identify fraudulent documents and gain leverage for settlement
  • How notes are transferred
  • What MERS is and why it was created
  • How investment grade bonds were developed from the securities
  • How ARM loans contributed to the credit crisis
  • The “alphabet problem” with securitizing loans

Motions and Pleadings, Cont.: Max shares and explains when and how to use a variety of motions, including:

  • Motion to be appointed special counsel for the Trustee
  • Motions to employ experts
  • Waivers
  • Strategic use of motions to modify the plan
    • Payment reduction
    • Reclassifying debt
    • Disbursements from 401(k)
    • Section 1329 modifications and pre-BAPCPA rules
  • Approval of new credit
  • Sale of property

Max also explains why he continues to take calls from and work with consumer bankruptcy clients after confirmation and discharge, and why you should, too—the benefits to you and your client could far exceed those of the bankruptcy filing itself.

You’ll also learn:

  • How Max collects damages for clients who have sold or refinanced their homes
  • When and how to convert an objection to a Proof of Claim to an Adversary Proceeding
  • When and how to have mortgages declared current
  • What you need to know about 12(b)(6) motions
  • How to put the seldom-used but powerful Rule 7007 to work for your clients
  • The proper use of Rule 9011 sanctions

Additional documents covered include:

  • Discovery motions
  • Motions for relief from stay
    • Affirmative defenses
  • Motions to quash

Additional Materials

A Primer in Evidence for Bankruptcy Cases: Judge F. Donald Bridges offers the view from the bench on:

  • Laying a foundation
  • Preparation
  • Credibility
  • Exhibits
  • What “court discretion” means to you
  • Objections
  • Getting evidence admitted
  • Using evidence effectively
  • What your opponents don’t know about making good use of the evidentiary process
  • Business records
  • Laying a foundation for electronic records

Fannie Mae Single Family Servicing Guide: Use the Fannie Mae Single Family Servicing Guide to your clients’ advantage.  Learn how servicers make money through:

  • Inappropriate force-placed insurance
  • Property inspections

Combat:

  • Ineffective transfers of ownership
  • Lost note claims

Use every weapon against the creditor:

  • Internal manuals
  • FDCPA violations

How and Why Discharge Violations Happen: It’s no accident.  A complicated system allows debt to come to life again and again.  Understanding how it works and who it benefits will help you kill off your clients’ debt once and for all—or collect for violation after violation.

Zombie Debt and Your Client: The system of debt transfer and authorization means those same old debts keep reappearing on a client’s credit report, but the very complexity of that system means that most debt buyers can’t prove an interest in the claims they’re asserting.

Re-Reporting and Re-Aging of Debts: The creditor and debt buyer system that brings those old debts to life again and again may also yield fresh discharge violations, FDCPA violations, FCRA violations and more—every time it crops up again.  Turn the tables and make the collectors pay again and again.