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Valuable Insights from the Trenches: Draft a Petition in 30 Minutes

There’s a number of different ways one can go about drafting bankruptcy petitions. Some methods lead to better results while other methods might be quicker. Finding a good balance between quality of work and speed can often be a challenge.

By making sure you have the right tools for the job and investing some time to learn about the shortcuts and time-saving features that are in your Best Case by Stretto, you’ll find that a quick turn-around does not have to come at the expense of quality.

With sufficient preparation, practice and focus, drafting a petition in 30 minutes or less is a realistic goal. If mastered, it can free up your time to focus on other important things.

Set up your team for efficiency

  • Everybody drafting or modifying petitions should have a dual monitor setup (at minimum). The cost is minimal and the efficiency gains are significant.
  • Ensure that your intake process includes having all the documents necessary to draft and support the petition scanned into the client file.
  • Ensure that you have a solid group of Best Case templates, macros and common text blocks set up. If you’re unfamiliar with these features, check out the Maximize Your Productivity blog.
  • Require that your clients pay for a Credit or Financial Report ordered through Best Case.


Set up your files for efficiency

  • The Best Case client file should be created using the appropriate template.
  • Credit and Financial Reports should be reviewed by the client prior to drafting, with additional creditors provided by the client.
  • The intake forms, notes, credit report and supporting documents should be open on the second monitor.
  • If credit counseling has been completed, the information should be added to Form 101: Voluntary Petition. If the credit counseling course was ordered through Best Case, the certificate should already be populated in the ECF Filing screen.


Draft in order to maximize efficiency

1. Begin with creditor entry:
  • Import the creditor information from the Credit or Financial Report to the appropriate creditor schedules. If you ordered a Preferred or Premium Report, you can import liens and judgments information into SOFA question #9.
  • Manually enter any additional creditors provided by the client.
  • Manually enter any additional notice creditors required.
2. Go to Schedules A/B and enter specific asset information for any secured assets.

3. Go back to Schedule D:
  • Link the secured debts to the appropriate assets (using the orange house button).
  • Complete Form 122 information and plan treatment or intent for each creditor.
4. Go to Form 2030 and enter your attorney’s fees:
  • Use the Jump to SFA #16 button to bring the information to the SOFA.
5. Go to Schedule J and enter any dependents in the household.

6. Go to Form 122 and complete CMI calculation (DMI if necessary).

7. If you’re in a Chapter 13 case, prepare a Chapter 13 plan and calculate the proposed repayment plan.

8. Complete Schedules I & J:
  • Unless you have a Lanning argument, ensure that your income on Schedule I substantially matches your CMI. If a Chapter 13, ensure your net available income matches your plan payment.
9. Go back and flush out Schedules A/B and C with case specific information.

10. Complete your SOFA:
  • For lines #6, 10, 11 and 20, use the Creditors Listed on D,E,F button to pull creditor information from creditor schedules.
11. Use power keys and shortcuts to navigate the petition. View list of shortcuts.

Prepare the file for client review as you go

  • The petition drafter should be taking notes as they draft.
  • CTRL-SHFT-N will directly access the client notes screen. The notes should include:
    • Questions to be presented to the client or that require an attorney answer
    • Missing documents
    • Missing information
    • Issues with petition that were noted while drafting (ex: equity requires $7,500 to gucs, budget does not allow for it)

Now that you have a framework for drafting petitions quickly, you may need to tweak the outline to fit the needs of your firm or clients. Regardless of what your final process entails, by taking time to plan and prepare the case and learn about the time-saving features that are available, you’re likely to benefit from gains in both quality and speed.

Read more in this series:

Save Time and Avoid PACER Fees

Maximize Your Productivity

Improve Your Bottom Line

Draft a Petition in 30 Minutes

George Vogl, JD

Meet George:

George Vogl joined Best Case as a Senior Product Specialist in early 2018 after practicing consumer bankruptcy for seventeen years, most recently as a managing partner of one of Chicago’s largest bankruptcy firms. As a longtime Best Case user, George is committed to sharing his knowledge of best practices and efficiency tips with customers to help them maximize the benefits of their software.