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How to Increase Profits for Your Law Firm

The first question Victoria Ring receives from many attorneys is: “How can you increase profits for my law firm?” She answers this question by introducing them to the concept of utilizing virtual paralegals.  However, when attorneys learn that virtual paralegals charge a flat fee versus a “per hour” rate, the next question is: “Why can’t I hire someone to work in my office at a lower cost than hiring a virtual paralegal.” The answer follows:

What is the difference between a virtual bankruptcy assistant and a virtual paralegal?

A virtual bankruptcy assistant is an individual who has been trained to prepare bankruptcy petitions for attorneys. The majority has never worked inside a law firm and their experience and knowledge varies from person to person.

A virtual paralegal is a paralegal that has:

** Worked five (5) years or longer inside a law firm ** Obtained a Paralegal Certificate ** Is a member of good standing in their local chapter of the National Association of Paralegals chapter

Hiring an Employee Versus Hiring a Virtual Paralegal

An employee working in your law firm preparing bankruptcy petitions may do part of the work but you (or someone else) will always invest time in verifying and correcting their work; or work on the case in one form or another.  A virtual paralegal is a trained specialist.  You simply have the clients fill out the intake forms and 99% of the remaining work is done for you.  You receive a complete Chapter 7 or 13 petition ready to file along with an Attorney Case Summary that details any potential problems before you approve the case to be filed.  Your time per case is reduced to approximately 4 hours and this includes the 341 Meeting.  Unless the employee you hire is a specialist with many years of experience in bankruptcy, you will not receive the same efficiency from an employee working in your law firm compared to a virtual paralegal.

Example: Your attorney fee is $2,500.  Let’s suppose the virtual paralegal charges $500.  The time you invest in the average case is approximately 4 hours or less, including court appearances.  You profit $500 per hour. virtual paralegal charges are not sharing fees. Instead, virtual paralegals are considered to be outsourcers and are the same as paying a TRAINED PROFESSIONAL to work in your office.  No employee can net you this high of an hourly rate.

What do employees do in the law firm if they are not preparing petitions?

As you know, there are many more duties associated with debtor bankruptcy than the pre-petition workload.  If you have an established law firm, the addition of a qualified virtual paralegal will ease the tremendous workload on your present employees, prevent you from hiring additional employees and allow you time to concentrate on growing your law firm and increasing your profits.

Isn’t bankruptcy petition work simply filling out forms?

A common misconception that some attorneys have is that preparing a bankruptcy petition is simply filling out a set of government forms.  This may have been true in 1942 but this line of thinking is now so far from reality that I invite you to prove it to yourself.

Call up any debtor bankruptcy attorney and ask them how many deficiency notices they receive from the bankruptcy court when a petition is filed.  Also ask them how many Amendments they normally file to correct problems with forms and schedules after they are filed.  Finally, ask them how many Chapter 13 Plans are confirmed without several recommendations by the Trustee.

If you perform this exercise, you will hear many stories of frustration and despair.  However, most of these problems could have been avoided if the petition had been well-detailed, prepared and all the research performed before the petition was filed.

Back in 1999, a very intelligent attorney in Columbus, Ohio encountered this same frustration. He looked for a way to improve the consistency and quality of his bankruptcy petitions; so he tried an experiment.  By taking the bankruptcy petition work out of the law firm, the virtual paralegal was able to work without interruptions, conduct client intake interviews with clients when they were more relaxed at home and the preparation remained consistent throughout the process.

The attorney soon discovered that when he implemented this method, his profits increased, the paperwork was reduced in the office, clients were happier and more cooperative and the amount of phone calls diminished; plus the attorney had time to grow his business.

You should now begin to visualize the difference between utilizing the services of a virtual paralegal versus an employee preparing petitions.  On the surface, it may appear that you are paying more in the beginning but the huge benefits a virtual paralegal will make to your law firm bottom line cannot even be compared to an employee who is simply filling out forms in your office.

What are some additional benefits to hiring a virtual paralegal?

** Attorneys do not pay the standard overhead costs associated with hiring a full time or part-time employee. The virtual paralegal charges one flat fee just like the bankruptcy attorney does for petition work.

** Attorneys do not pay for services until they are satisfied with the quality of work produced by the virtual paralegal. There are no financial risks for the law firm.

** Other law firm personnel are freed up to work on more complex cases. It is a known fact that the typical employee preparing petitions in a law firm is interrupted several times. This makes the information on the bankruptcy petition to not be consistent and precise, resulting in errors, lost time and money.

** Attorneys eliminate their need to train new employees. Most virtual paralegals stay with the same attorney for many years. Not only does this increase efficiency with bankruptcy petitions, but the virtual paralegal gets to know the clients on a more personal level, are able to build a better relationship with the local bankruptcy court and the attorney which helps the attorney to build a more solid and reliable reputation.

** There are no standard overhead expenditures for the attorney (i.e., desk, chair, office supplies, software and employee downtime costs). Virtual paralegals already have established their own home office and use their own software programs because they are independent business owners.

** If the virtual paralegal is within driving distance of the attorney’s office, he or she may provide client intake interview services. By going to the office, meeting the client in person and reviewing the client intake forms they filled out, the virtual paralegal gains more knowledge of the case and can normally reduce the amount of time they spend on each petition. That is why no additional charge is made for an onsite client intake interview since it makes the job easier for the law firm, client and virtual paralegal.

** No office politics. Normally, the majority of time the only contact the attorney will have with the virtual paralegal is by email and telephone. This eliminates staff and employee conflicts which wastes time and costs the average law firm a great deal of money every year.

How to Get Started

Click here to download your free set of Client Intake Forms. Complete, step-by-step instructions are provided in the document you download. This document is in PDF format. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat,  click here and get your free reader

Good Resources for Bankruptcy Law Firms

CHAPTER 7 AND 13 PETITION PREPARATION SERVICE

Kelly Thrasher More Clients NOW Phone: 317-370-5032 kelly@moreclients.net http://moreclients.net/

BANKRUPTCY APPRAISER FOR VENTURA AND LOS ANGELES COUNTY CALIFORNIA DEBTORS

Stuart Groten Certified General Appraiser Phone: 805-553-9562 stuartlane@adelphia.net http://www.realtyappraiser.com NETWORK WITH BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEYS

Karen Fairchild http://www.karenfairchild.com

Marc Mathys and Doug Miche http://bkfreedom.wordpress.com/ Complete List: http://www.bankruptcylinks.info/about/attorney-references

FREEBIES

Bankruptcy Attorney Start-Up Kit http://www.coloradobankruptcytraining.com/bankruptcy_attorney_startup_kit.pdf

Internet Tools for Law Firms http://www.bankruptcylinks.info/about/free-stuff

Free Bankruptcy Training Videos http://www.youtube.com/user/MsVictoriaRing

Tools to Start Your Law Firm http://www.bankruptcylinks.info/about/free-supplies

Client PreQualification Screen Form http://www.bankruptcyintakeonline.com/

MARKETING

Attorney Marketing Links http://www.bankruptcylinks.info/about/marketing-links

Add Your Website to Our Free Directory http://chapter7and13bankruptcyblog.com/add-your-name

This information is provided to you by Victoria Ring, CEO of Colorado Bankruptcy Training. Please call us at 719-375-1504 if we can help your law firm. We work hard to earn and keep your business. http://www.coloradobankruptcytraining.com

New Years Greeting from Victoria Ring

Hi Everyone

Today is January 1, 2011 and I thought I would write a personal note to all my readers and subscribers instead of simply sending a greeting. However, I want to wish you a happy holiday season and I hope you and your family had many blessings.

I also have had many blessings.  In fact, my whole world changed in the past 30 days and I thought I would share the experience with you so you may receive a blessing also.

In late November I accidently fell in my home twice.  Both times, I was unable to get up because I had no feeling in my knees.  This experience scared me and I immediately called my doctor.  After an examination I learned that the pain in my hips and knees was caused from inactivity and I needed to begin some type of therapy or I would be in a wheelchair.

Due to the fact that I have no health insurance and cannot afford to pay a hospital for daily therapy, I decided to look for a diabetic therapist who needed a roommate.  This way I could reduce my expenses and receive the benefit of daily therapy.

Note:  I know this sounds like it would be hard to locate a person with this criteria, but it requires the same skill level as targeting your customers when building a business.  You define exactly the type of person you want to find and you do not stop until you find that person or customer group.

Within just a few days of searching on Roommates.Com and Craigs List, I found several prospects in my age group.  I contacted them and chose a good Christian lady named Dee who has a kind heart.  But there was one possible problem; she lived on a 10 acre ranch with horses and virgin forests in the most beautiful area of Colorado.  Why is this a problem?  I was born and raised a city girl.  When I moved to Colorado Springs I thought it was living in a small town; but I soon discovered that nothing could compare to living in the country.

However, after visiting beautiful Custer County I fell in love with it.  In fact, I loved it so much that I decided to make any adjustments necessary to move in and become Dee’s roommate.  But let me tell you, there has been some big adjustments.  For example, I wanted to go to my bank to make a deposit.  The closest branch location for my bank was in Pueblo.  The sign on the highway said that Pueblo was 56 miles away; however, when you are driving on 2 lane mountain roads with sharp turns and no guard rails, the fastest you can drive is 15 miles per hour.  This means that to travel 56 miles takes almost 2 hours, not 1 hour.

Next, it is taking me a lot of time adjusting from man-made lights to God-made lights (stars and moon.)  Although I must say that the God-made lights are much more beautiful, it still takes some getting used to.  At this point I am not able to drive in the dark; which means that when I leave the house, I have to make sure I have enough time to do what I have to do and get back before dark.

Oh well … I am sure that everything will work out fine and I will learn a new way of life in 2011.  I cannot wait to start horseback riding and begin exercising every day.  My roommate runs a horse rescue and after restoring the horses back to health, she provides them to ranches where children with cerebral palsy and other health problems ride and take care of them for therapy also.  It is a wonderful thing that Dee does and it does my soul good to be a part of it.

So you see …  what started out as a big problem (loss of my hips and legs) has turned into a life changing event where I am richly blessed.  As a Christian I thank Jesus Christ for His blessings. Others who do not worship Jesus Christ will look at my experience differently.  However, if you take anything away from this article, take away this one lesson:

Looking at the positive instead of the negative will cause positive things to happen.

PHOTOS

If you are interested in viewing some photos of the area surrounding my new home, visit: http://www.mywestcliffe.com/videos/custer_county_1/westcliffe3.html In 2011, I am going to offer personalized training options so that people can bring their families here for vacation if they want, or come alone and stay in one of the beautiful bed and breakfast inns close to my home.  I provide transportation and all your meals while you are trained in any areas you need.  This includes setting up a new practice, operations and procedures, marketing, as well as petition preparation and advanced levels of pleading work.  If this is a service you would be interested in, please email victoriaring1958@gmail.com or call 719-783-3797.

Happy New Year 2011

Veterans Administration Approves Online Training at MyBankruptcySchool.Com and Opens the Door to Train New Skills to Veteran Attorneys

On October 6, 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs in Denver, Colorado, approved the training provided online at MyBankruptcySchool.Com under Vocational Rehabilitation Chapter 31, Title 38. This opens the door to both retired and disabled veterans; a respected segment of our community consisting of thousands of attorneys with many years of excellent legal experience. Read the rest of this entry »

New Schedule B Bankruptcy Training Videos Just Released

Colorado Bankruptcy Training is pleased to announce the release of the first bankruptcy training videos ever produced to train the skills needed to prepare a well-detailed Schedule B within the bankruptcy petition. As you may know, we just released the Voluntary Petition and Schedule A training videos last week. Read the rest of this entry »

Does Your Bankruptcy Law Firm Need a Helping Hand?

If you have been following previous emails, Michael Misenheimer and I had to cancel the June seminars in California because no one registered for them.  We both were shocked and wanted to find out why no one was interested in attending.  The training we offered was beyond any other training offered within the industry and the popularity of previous seminars told us that we were doing everything right.  So, what was the problem?

After emailing and talking with about 15 different California bankruptcy attorneys, we were told that the Central District is so busy that attorneys do not have time to attend a seminar right now.

Our first reaction was: What can we do to help?

IDEA FOR TELEPHONE TRAINING

The first idea came from Art Hausmann, a seasoned bankruptcy attorney that attended the Los Angeles Chapter 13 seminar back in August 2009.  Art hired me to provide training to his paralegal, as the paralegal needed it.  In other words, when his paralegal is working on a bankruptcy case, if she has a question she calls or sends me an email.  I either reply to her email or call her in order to help solve the problem.  In addition to solving the issue, I also take the time to train her skills in the process.  Art’s paralegal and I will begin our training starting tomorrow (Monday.)

In the meantime, I talked with Michael about this problem.  He agreed that we should offer other attorneys the same service.  For a fee of $100 per hour, Michael or I will be available by telephone and email to answer your questions.  In fact, we will not even charge a retainer fee to get started. If you try out our service and you do not immediately see results, you owe nothing.  The training can be provided for you or any member of your legal staff.  How much better could this offer be? You have nothing to lose.

Obviously, Michael and I are only two people.  We can only provide our training services to a limited number of attorneys and we are doing this in order to assist the law firms who are in crisis mode at this time.  Please contact us (see contact information at end of this email) to discuss this training option if you are interested.

LAW OFFICE MANAGEMENT ASSISTANCE

Working in law firms, Michael and I are also aware that some law firms do not necessarily need help with petitions, but are severely disorganized due to the huge increase in the workload.

These are precisely the types of problems that Michael and I are experienced in handling because we have worked in a variety of law firms throughout our career.  Please contact us (see contact information at end of this email) so we can analyze your situation, offer a few suggestions and see what we can do to help you improve your law firm efficiency.

CHAPTER 13 PETITION ASSISTANCE

As you may already know, Chapter 13 filings are increasing because the creditors are fighting harder against Chapter 7 filings.  This has created a nitch for paralegals like Michael and me to work with attorneys in improving their Chapter 13 petitions and Plans.  We provide a wide range of services up through the confirmation stage.   And, if you are located in Colorado Springs, Colorado or Atlanta, Georgia, we can even accompany you to court if you need us.  To discuss your Chapter 13 needs, please contact us (see contact information at end of this email.)

We are here to help in any way we can, especially during this time of mortgage crisis and upside down loans.  Remember, we are both skilled in cram downs and strip downs of mortgage loans which can save your client thousands of dollars.

We hope to hear from you soon.  See contact information below.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Victoria Ring Phone: 719-465-2442 Email:  victoriaring@coloradobankruptcytraining.com

Michael Misenheimer Phone: 404-795-9013 Email: mmisenheimer@gmail.com

Update from Victoria Ring

CONVERT MORE CLIENTS

I have been talking to several attorneys this week in regard to tools they need to help them be more productive in their law practice.  One of the major problems I kept finding was that attorneys are having difficulty converting client interviews to paying clients.  Several attorneys told me: I do 5 to 6 interviews a week but the clients never come back and retain me to do their petitions.

This is a very common problem for many attorneys; even though it sounds strange in a world where bankruptcy is the major booming field within the legal system.  So, why are some bankruptcy attorneys swamped with work and other bankruptcy attorneys are barely getting 1 or 2 clients per month?  The answer lies in the benefits you can provide to your potential clients based upon their unique circumstances.  Once you are able to evaluate their needs in an efficient manner, you will be able to know what these unique circumstances are and use this knowledge to your advantage when discussing price options with your clients.

And because every bankruptcy petition is unique and different, every client will have a unique set of circumstances they need help with.  This is why I developed the Initial Intake Form Package which is aimed at putting more money in your pocket and less time providing free consultations.  To find out more or to order, visit:

http://www.coloradobankruptcytraining.com/products_intakeform.html

UPCOMING CALIFORNIA WORKSHOP

As you may already know, I am scheduled to speak at the Bankruptcy and Marketing Seminar to be held in Atlanta, Georgia on April 23 and 24, 2010.  After I return, Michael Misenheimer and I are planning a two-day training workshop for attorneys and their personnel in Los Angeles.

Topics will include marketing, law office operations as well as training on strip downs and cram downs, which is a very popular topic in California.  In addition, I plan to present materials that will help attorneys market their law firms online.  As I told one attorney, just submitting your website to a search engine or two, is nothing.  That is why I developed the marketing links for attorneys to help them get started.  This list is free and available at:

http://coloradobankruptcytraining.com/links_marketing.html

Do you know of a meeting room we could use for the workshop?

We are currently looking for a meeting room to hold the training workshop; however, Los Angeles is so expensive.  If you have a meeting room where we could hold a two-day workshop you and your law firm employees can attend free.  Please email me if you can help us:

victoriaring1958@gmail.com

JOIN US IN ATLANTA http://www.713training.com/products/Bankruptcy-Petition-Training-Seminar.html

713Training and 713Attorney Company Reorganization

Due to the rapid growth of the debtor bankruptcy industry, it has become necessary to separate 713Training and 713Attorney.

From 2004 to 2010 these companies served two separate markets. 713Training provides training and support for virtual bankruptcy assistants and 713Attorney provides training and support for the debtor bankruptcy attorneys.  For the past several years, Victoria Ring has been able to manage both of them with occasional support from virtual assistants she hired to answer phones and fill orders.  But at the alarming rate the bankruptcy industry is growing, a point occurred where the companies had to be separated or both of them would suffer.

Therefore, on February 1, 2010; Clay Holland of MyBankruptcyAssistant.Com will take over the management of 713Training.  Victoria Ring will then have the ability to direct her attention solely to the training and support of debtor bankruptcy attorneys and their law firms through 713Attorney.

HOW TO STAY CONNECTED TO VICTORIA RING

1.  Visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/coloradovictoria 2.  Click:  ADD VICTORIA TO YOUR NETWORK 3.  If you are not already logged into LinkedIn you will be asked to login 4.  When prompted to type in an email address, use:  victoriaring@lawyer.com 5.  Send the email invitation

If you are already subscribed to the 713Training LinkedIn list, by all means, DO NOT UNSUBSCRIBE.  Clay Holland works as a virtual bankruptcy assistant, who is also assisting an attorney in building his law practice; therefore, Clay has a great deal of knowledge to share with the group that will be beneficial to you.

I apologize for any inconvenience this change may cause but this is the procedure that LinkedIn has in place to prevent you from being subscribed to a network for an individual you are not interested in following.

Additional changes are being made to compensate for the rapid growth of 713Training and 713Attorney.  Make sure you stay connected for updated details.

Victoria Ring, CEO http://www.713Training.Com http://www.713Attorney.Com

New Bankruptcy Law Firm Established

I am very happy to report that the Law Firm of John H Spurgeon in Pasadena, California has opened a new debtor law bankruptcy practice and will be accepting new clients soon.  Attorney John Spurgeon worked as a Certified Public Accountant for many years before graduating from the California Bar approximately 10 years ago.

Since that time, John Spurgeon has been specializing in family law.  He had been referring all bankruptcy requests out to other attorneys in the area.  However, when he found the requests were growing in number, he decided to open up a bankruptcy law practice to compliment his existing customer base.

A quick search on the American Bankruptcy Institute website at www.abiworld.org will show you the high level of increase in bankruptcy filings within the state of California.  For example: in the Second Quarter (April, May and June) of 2009 there were a total of 53,505 filings in the state of California alone.  These figures result down to almost 600 California residents PER DAY filing bankruptcy.  That is the most extreme I have ever seen in my entire 30+ year legal career.  The numbers are mind boggling and you may not understand the level of significance unless you are working in the bankruptcy field.

Due to these high numbers of filings, many homes in California are owned by banks.  Although the state of Florida is also suffering and filings are extremely high there also, the difference between the appraisal amount and the amount owed to the bank is much smaller in Florida compared to California.  For example: In California, there are many homes (priced at $100,000 in other areas of the country) originally selling for $700,000 and up.  Now that the housing market has collapsed, California home owners are finding the same property is appraised at $200,000 and they are underwater a half million or more.

In an effort to stabilize the housing problems in California, many California bankruptcy courts are putting provisions in place so that debtors may stay in their homes and this helps to prevent more criminal activity within the neighborhood as well as protecting the investment of other homeowners.  For example, did you know there are unscrupulous people who pick the locks of bank-owned homes, change the locks and rent the property to innocent victims?  If the person(s) owning the home would have stayed in it instead of moving the moment they received a foreclosure notice, this would not have happened.  It is unfortunate that people often do things that hurt them simply out of panic.

WHAT PROVISIONS IS CALIFORNIA BANKRUPTCY COURTS PUTTING IN PLACE FOR PEOPLE?

Victoria Ring is putting together a training package that will teach California attorneys how to propose strip downs of second mortgages and cram down first mortgages.  This is a new procedure that has been tested and approved by the Central District of California (the most difficult district to file a petition in).  Look for a future email announcement regarding the training package so that you can save your clients literally millions of dollars and help them get a fresh start in these hard financial times.

DO YOU KNOW OF ANYONE FACING FORECLOSURE?

One of the goals and focuses of Victoria Ring is to educate as many people as possible during these hard financial times.  If you know of anyone who has received a foreclosure notice, tell them NOT TO MOVE.  Stay in their home and keep it well maintained.  There are many opportunities for homeowners who are behind in their mortgage (and many are coming down the pike); simply because the bank would prefer to preserve their investment by having the property owner stay in the home instead of leaving and have the home subject to criminal activity.

ARE YOU AN ATTORNEY?

If you are receiving this notice and you are interested in discussing the establishment of a bankruptcy law firm for your practice, so that you can help 100s of people facing foreclosure also, feel free to call Victoria Ring at 719-659-0743.  What is the cost?  It depends on your training needs, which is why you must call for a free consultation and assessment.  Some attorneys only require training by teleconference and over the web, while others prefer that we physically come to their location.

CONTACT REFERENCE

Contact Information for John Spurgeon http://www.jsfamilylaw.com/