Congress added language into the Bankruptcy Code in 2005 that said that anyone who is
a "Debt Relief Agency" must do, or can't do, certain things such as giving out handouts, disclosures, fee contacts
and give/not give certain advice.
One of the requirements is that bankruptcy attorneys (and anyone
else who fits the definition, whether or not they are an attorney) have to to say we are a Debt Relief Agency
in any adverstisements we have.
11 USC Section 101
The term "debt relief agency" means any person who provides any bankruptcy assistance to an assisted
person in return for the payment of money or other valuable consideration, or who is a bankruptcy petition preparer under
attorneys fit into this definition, they have to give the handouts and disclosures, and include the language in all advertisements
saying that they are Debt Relief Agencies, just like someone without a law degree or special training.
do have skills and education, as well as being governed and guided by rules of the Bar Association. Lawyers must
use the term Debt Relief Agency but they are still lawyers who give people legal advice like they always have done.
Because of this, you will see those words (or should see them) in any ad for anyone who discusses bankruptcy and is
paid for it. It doesn't mean that the person you speak to prepares and files bankruptcy, but is broad enough to
include anyone who might discuss it as an option.
For lawyers, this is a really stupid requirement.
For non-lawyers it gives credibility for many who don't deserve it.
I am also pretty sure that many people,
including lawyers, who give advice about bankruptcy DON'T include the language because they don't know they have
to - which is not a good sign about their knowlege of bankruptcy and the requirements under the law.
I am not sure
why Congress added this language, or why they defined it in a way that lawyers were covered but it requires lawyers,
and anyone else who gives bankruptcy advice, to include the language about being a Debt Relief Agency and helping
people file bankruptcy in all advertisements.
Maybe they thought that lawyers were putting people into
bankruptcy without telling them? The notion is completely ridiculous, and I can say that if it has ever happened, it
certainly is NOT what attorneys should do. Not only would it be completely unethical, but they would risk their
reputation and possibly their license to practice law too if they did so.
So if you see the language,
just mark it off as a weird government rule that appears to have no purpose - at least not that I can see.
I just call it stupid.