Law Office of David G. Baker
Concentrating in Consumer Bankruptcy
Thanks for visiting my website. As a solo practitioner, I take only a limited number of cases. However, please feel free to call me to discuss your situation. I will help you if I can, but if not, I will refer you to a qualified and experienced colleague.
This office is a debt relief agency, as defined by the Bankruptcy Code, because I help people file bankruptcy petitions!
I guarantee I will listen to what you have to say and will work with you to get you the relief you need. Unfortunately, I can NOT guarantee that you will get the relief you want; an honest lawyer (yes, there are such things!) will not make such a guarantee.
Table of Contents
for the other pages
in this site. Click on any of these links to go to the other page:
This link will take you to a page in the website of Brad Botes, a colleague in Alabama. He asked daughter, a student, for her thoughts on budgeting. Her response is very sensible and worth considering by adults, too!
Due to medical issues and as a hangover from the pandemic, I am seeing clients in the Business Center at my apartment building. I will give you the address when you make an appointment.
Some other links of interest:
The bankruptcy court in Boston is located at 5 Post Office Square, in Boston. The clerk's office is on the 11th floor, and the Courtrooms are on the 12th floor. Creditors' meetings (the §341 meeting) and some court hearings are being held by telephone as a result of the Corona-virus pandemic, until further notice.
In Worcester, the court is located at 595 Main Street, Worcester.
There is also an office and courtroom in Springfield.
Please note that if your financial problem stems from student loans or divorce- related debts, bankruptcy does NOT discharge those debts, usually. However, discharging OTHER debt can make it easier to pay student loans or divorce-related debt such as alimony or child support.
Bankruptcy is a highly specialized area of the law. To properly protect your rights, you need an attorney who knows Bankruptcy. Generally speaking, it is NOT an area where a general practitioner is acceptable, nor is it one where the least expensive attorney will do, because making a mistake in a bankruptcy case can have devastating consequences! Since 1996, David has concentrated his practice in bankruptcy, and has helped many clients save their homes and get the best available debt relief. I look forward to helping you!!
Here's a link to a company that I have found useful for transcribing audio from court hearings and the like:
Please feel free to look around my website. I have tried to design it so that there is a lot of information - necessarily rather generic, since everyone's case is different - but still easy to use. I hope you will find it informative and helpful.
IF YOU HAVE A MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE COMING UP, OR YOU ARE TRYING TO GET A MODIFICATION OF YOUR MORTGAGE, PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING:
1. If you can't reach me and are facing a foreclosure (especially if the foreclosure is about to happen or has already happened) please go to the website for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (click here) and use the attorney finder to find an attorney near you. Do it now; in Massachusetts, once a foreclosure takes place, it is very nearly impossible to set it aside, even if it was done wrongly. Massachusetts law is quite harsh in that respect.
2. Don't delay just because you think that you're going to get a modification of your mortgage. Bona fide modifications are difficult and time consuming to get, and more often than not, they don't tell you that they aren't going to give you a modification until the very last minute before a scheduled foreclosure, and then you don't have time to do anything to stop the foreclosure other than file a bankruptcy case. The federal "HAMP" program does not require the servicer to modify your mortgage, even if you are qualified; it only requires the servicer to consider your application. Suing the servicer afterwards for not giving you a "HAMP" modification, even if you were qualified, is a difficult case to win, at best. There may be other reasons to sue the servicer, but suing because of the HAMP regulations is very problematic.
PLEASE NOTE: Nothing on this page or this website is intended to constitute legal advice. Your circumstances may be different, so call me or another lawyer to discuss your particular situation BEFORE taking any action and BEFORE you lose property to creditors.
BANKRUPTCY is not an area of the law where a "general practitioner" will be able to help you effectively. Like criminal law, there are many nuances and details that a trained, experienced bankruptcy lawyer will know about. Filing a bankruptcy case without an attorney or without proper preparation and investigation can be disastrous. For example, some inexperienced attorneys will tell you to transfer your property to a relative or friend in order to protect it from creditors. DON'T DO IT!! That is a sure way to get into serious trouble, even without a bankruptcy case, and probably isn't necessary, anyway. The same is true of using money from an IRA or retirement account; withdrawals generally result in a tax liability.
Always consult a bankruptcy attorney if you are having financial troubles. An honest bankruptcy attorney will tell you if bankruptcy is NOT the right solution for you.
More about Bankruptcy
You can watch some videos about bankruptcy that were developed by the bankruptcy court system by clicking here.
Click here to read an article from the New York Times called "Bankruptcy as a Step Towards Solvency."
Here is a link to an article on the Newsweek website by Jane Bryant Quinn in which she suggests that bankruptcy may be the best solution for many people. It's a bit dated now, but still relevant. Here is a link to another article by Ms. Quinn called "The Case for Walking Away", which you might also find interesting or helpful. I can help you decide if bankruptcy is right for you!
David appears to be the first graduate of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover to argue before the United States Supreme Court, and the first bankruptcy lawyer from Massachusetts to argue before the United States Supreme Court in about 20 years. His client was a consumer debtor, probably just like you! The issue was whether the statutory right to convert a case from chapter 7 to 13 is absolute or can be denied in special circumstances. The majority of the court said No, but because of the 4-judge dissent (including the Chief Justice), it is generally considered an outstanding result.
A second case handled by David has been reviewed by the Supreme Court! He was "second chair" in that case, but it was exciting to be in the courtroom while the justices heard oral argument. It pertained to whether denial of confirmation of a chapter 13 plan is a "final" order that may be the subject of an appeal. Again, the court said no, but it is helpful to have a consistent standard nationwide
David is a several-time graduate of Max Gardner's Bankruptcy Boot Camp! For more information, click here. You can also click here to see a video about the Boot Camp from CNN. Thank you to Gene Melchione, a colleague in Connecticut, for sharing this video.
In the December, 2021, and December, 2022, issues, David was recognized as a "Top Lawyer" for bankruptcy in the Boston area. Click here to see the pages.
FACING FORECLOSURE OF YOUR HOME?
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case will allow you to stop the foreclosure, continue paying the mortgage, and get caught up over a period of years. I may also be able to help you reduce the amount you owe by forcing the lender to eliminate improper fees and charges. There is an interesting and well written article about this at this link.
For an overview of Chapter 13, click here.
DROWNING IN CREDIT CARD DEBT?
BILL COLLECTORS MAKING YOUR LIFE MISERABLE?
While I cannot ethically guarantee any particular result, if you follow the rules and follow my advice, I can provide you with a financial "life preserver" and make the phone calls stop. If you've lost your job or gotten sick and can't pay the credit card bills, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can prevent creditors from trying to collect.
For an overview of Chapter 7, click here.
This picture was taken on November 6, 2006, just outside the Supreme Court Building after David argued the case of Marrama v. DeGiacomo, et al. You can read the decisions at this link. Although the majority ruled against David's client, the fact that four justices dissented is generally regarded as an exceptional result.