Relief and peace of mind are two things attorney Lorraine Raymond strives to provide her clients throughout the bankruptcy process.
Licensed to practice in Tennessee since 1986, Raymond handles personal bankruptcies (debtor work only) including Chapters 7 and 13 and Chapter 11, which deals with corporations.
Sometimes the debt she helps her clients deal with is a personal fault, but oftentimes it's not, she said. "The first thing I tell people is don't be embarrassed because you are in debt," said Raymond.
"There are so many people out there like you and me who get in over their heads with large medical debts or find themselves out of work, and there should be no more shame in filing. "These are not people who are going out and spending lavishly on credit cards. They are using them to survive because they've lost a job and can't find work. Bankruptcy is a federal program enacted by Congress to give people a second chance."
Chapter 7 is a total elimination of all debt with some exceptions; Chapter 13 is set up to allow individuals to keep their home or car and catch up on their payments. There has to be a regular income to file for Chapter 13, Raymond explained.
Regardless of the type of bankruptcy, the process for her clients begins with calling to set up a consultation and meeting to determine the best plan for the client going forward. "They come in and bring in all their debts, we get a copy of their credit report and then look at their income and expenses," said Raymond. "We look to see if they can afford to make payments to their creditors or not to determine if we take Chapter 7 or Chapter 13."
From there, she handles all the paperwork, works with the client to file for bankruptcy and the process starts. Raymond emphasized that the most important part of it all is that clients not feel ashamed or embarrassed about the situation. "They always express the relief they feel once we've talked," she said. "It's like the weight of the world is gone and I've helped give them some more space and some breathing room."
That feeling of relief is what she wants to give her clients more than anything, she said. Lorraine Raymond's office is located at 3335 Ringgold Road, Suite 105.
In addition to personal bankruptcy, her practice also handles family law including divorce, child support and custody cases, some criminal law (mostly general sessions) and wills. She can be reached at 423-305-0384 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Raymond encourages anyone looking for legal counsel in any of her specialty areas to reach out to her and schedule a free consultation in her office.
It is important to call before coming in so clients can arrive with the proper materials for the consultation, she noted. (Raymond cannot give legal advice over the phone.)