I always tell my clients to check my work. Like every professional I know I do my best not to make mistakes. But I am human and sometimes I divide when I should multiple and transpose numbers just like every other normal person. Never assume something is correct just because someone else did it for you. Clients should understand and agree with the work an attorney has completed for them. Legal work is a team effort.
I had two cases this week I initially made small errors. The first case was a simple case and it was easy to turn around rather quickly. The first error was the way I was reading my client's paystubs. Unfortunately, paystubs are not universal. They contain most of the same information but the layout and abbreviations can vary greatly. I misunderstood some deductions.
As I was going through everything with my client, she stopped me at one point and said, "that doesn't sound right." Sure enough, as she went over the paystubs with me, we found the issue. It was an easy fix and everything is good.
The second case dealt with paystubs as well. This was a much more complex case with business records and two different sets of paystubs. It was further complicated because it was "on again and off again" over the last year.
My clients thought they wanted to do it and then they thought the could handle their finances without bankruptcy. I found myself with almost a year worth of records. I had duplicate and gaps. I had documents that became too old and I had to collect updated documents as time passed. I finally thought I had everything I needed.
I did all my calculations and sent the everything to my clients to review before our meeting. They said they went through it all and we were ready to meet. We went through it again line by line and page by page. Before we ended the meeting we found a couple more things I needed but nothing major.
I received the information, starting conducting my final review before filing, and started preparing the final documents. I had this little buzzing in my head thinking, "something isn't right." Sure enough I was not accounting for all the income. I do not know if my clients just missed giving me all the paystubs or I missed them in all the e-mail and record exchanges. Again, an easy fix but I would have like to have caught it earlier in the process.
I'm not sure how closely they reviewed the calculations I sent them. But the client needs to sign the filing. They also need to testify at the creditors meeting that they reviewed the documents, understood them, and they were accurate.
If you are in that position, you really need to make sure that is true. So do not hesitate to question things if they do not seem correct. Your attorney should be able to explain everything to you. No one wants to make mistakes but we all do. Always check the numbers...
If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark M. Medvesky or Wells, Hoffman, Holloway & Medvesky LLP, check out our website at www.whhmlaw.com.
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