You might think that because bankruptcy is Federal law, there would be no difference where you file. This is simply not true at all. If you live in Chicago, Illinois, then you will have to file what I refer to as a bankruptcy lawyer Chicago case. Set within the geographic boundaries of Cook County, a case will a debtor living in Chicago is unique in certain respects. For one, your case will be assigned to one of 60 or so, bankruptcy trustees. Thus, you have no idea at the time of filing, just who will be assigned to administer assets in your case. This is one of the greatest differences with Cook County. The size of the court system in Cook County is huge.
In addition to the large amount of bankruptcy trustees, there is also a plethora of bankruptcy attorneys. It ranges from consumer attorneys, business attorneys and creditor attorneys. Everyone has a different angle on things and everyone caters to a slightly different segment of the bankruptcy market. In other words, there is no shortage of bankruptcy advice if that is what you are seeking. Be cautious, however, since not all bankruptcy attorneys are the same. It is amazing the differing opinions and advice that you can receive on the same set of facts. I would strongly recommend that you seek an experienced attorney and not choose your counsel solely based upon price.
If you live in Chicago, you do not have to hire a Chicago bankruptcy lawyer. There are plenty of qualified lawyers who office outside of Chicago who regularly handle cases within the jurisdiction. All Chicago cases will be heard at the Dirksen Federal Building located at 219 S. Dearborn Street. The United States Trustee’s Office is located within that building so there is easy access to the meeting of creditors and to the court itself. On each day, you can hear several judges as they handle their massive chapter 7 and chapter 13 court calls.
For Chapter 13 cases within the Chicago city limits, there are two Trustees that your case may be assigned to for administering your plan. One is Marilyn O. Marshall and one is Tom Vaughn. Debtor’s attorneys will often state that a case proceeds much more smoothly before Trustee Vaughn. Regardless of which Trustee you draw, you must satisfy the code, the Trustee and the Judge. Chapter 13 cases can range from simple to complex. Make certain that the lawyer you choose knows more than just the bankruptcy basics. It is very easy to get caught in a Chapter 13 with issues. Only a skilled practitioner can truly navigate the Chapter 13 landscape.