About Sandra O’Connor

I have ten years of experience specializing in bankruptcy law, including the representation of trustees, creditors and debtors. My focus has always been on complex bankruptcy cases and bankruptcy litigation.

After graduating from the University of Michigan in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature, I earned my law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2007, a top tier law school.

Since 2013, I have been certified as a consumer bankruptcy specialist by the American Board of Certification. The American Board of Certification is a non-profit organization which requires certified attorneys to meet rigorous standards, including continuing legal education and experience requirements, as well as references from other attorneys. As of October 2017, there are only 31 attorneys in Michigan who are certified as consumer bankruptcy specialists, less than two-thirds of which are in the Metro Detroit area.

I am a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and the author of an article published in the American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, Signing Away § 522(d)(12) Exemption: Boilerplate Language Constitutes a Prohibited Transaction, AM. BANKR. INST. J., Nov. 2012, at 18.

Costs

I provide free initial consultations for all prospective clients.  Please note that I am not currently accepting clients who are seeking to file a new bankruptcy case.  You can schedule an appointment by clicking here or by phone at (248) 817-6669 or by e-mail at sandra@sandraoconnorlaw.com. Do not disclose any confidential information in any initial voicemails or e-mails to schedule an appointment.  I will not be your attorney unless we enter into a signed retainer agreement.

I strive to provide services for a reasonable price based upon the complexity of the matter and the extent of services.  Normally fees are performed based on hourly billing, but some cases may qualify for a flat fee arrangement.  We will discuss the terms of proposed representation at your free initial consultation.

Regardless of the circumstances leading you to need representation, you should expect and you deserve to have your case to be treated with the utmost importance and urgency.  If I am retained as your attorney, I will aggressively pursue and protect your interests.  I will respond to your inquiries as quickly as possible.  I will ensure that I am fully apprised of all law and facts applicable to your circumstances in order to provide the best representation possible.  I frequently attend continuing legal education events and keep up-to-date on applicable changes to and interpretations of bankruptcy law in order to prepare for any creative new theories that can be used against you or for your benefit.

Michigan has no requirements that attorneys obtain certification in a specialty or that attorneys complete any continuing legal education at all in order to represent clients in that area of law.  Bankruptcy is not typically a required course at law schools and is not tested on the Michigan bar exam.  Bankruptcy documents appear easy to prepare, which entices many underqualified attorneys to decide to act as bankruptcy attorneys without adequate qualifications.  However, the bankruptcy documents and the Bankruptcy Code are minefield of potential issues, both old and new.  

The attorneys for trustees and creditors have a strong incentive to keep on top of changes in the law to maximize the recovery for their clients.  You do not want an attorney who learns of new legal theories as a result of those theories being testing against you or those close to you, and then isn’t ready to fight for you.  

In my substantial experience representing chapter 7 trustees, I have seen the following consequences to chapter 7 debtors and their family members, many of which were unanticipated and could have even been prevented by qualified representation:

    • Loss of homes
    • Loss of vehicles
    • Loss of retirement accounts, annuities, and insurance policy cash values
    • Loss of businesses
    • Lawsuits against family members, friends, and debtor’s businesses
  • Denial of discharge, meaning that despite the bankruptcy filing, all debts still have to be paid

Many people end up regretting filing for bankruptcy because the resulting consequences outweigh any benefits.  Many people also find that, once problems arise in their bankruptcy case, their attorneys become difficult to contact and are unqualified to represent them in the resulting proceedings.

As a board certified specialist in consumer bankruptcy law by the American Board of Certification, I am required to meet rigorous standards to obtain and maintain certification.  The requirements include a thorough examination, verification of experience, substantial continuing education, peer review, and verification of integrity.  

As of October 2017, there are only 31 attorneys in the entire state of Michigan who are board certified consumer bankruptcy law specialists.  Less than two-thirds of those are located in the Metro Detroit area.  

If you are searching for a bankruptcy attorney based on the lowest cost, my fees will not be the lowest you can find due to my qualifications and my commitment to  providing optimal representation. However, I strive to offer reasonable fees in light of the work to be performed and your unique financial circumstances.  

My firm offers free initial consultations.  You may schedule an initial consultation online by clicking here.  You may also contact me by phone at (248) 817-6669 or by e-mail at sandra@sandraoconnorlaw.com.  Do not disclose any confidential information in any initial voicemails or e-mails to schedule an appointment.  I will not be your attorney unless we enter into a signed retainer agreement. In the event that you have urgent circumstances or you are unable to meet during normal business hours, please let me know your availability and we can work to set up an appointment even if the dates and times on our online scheduling tool do not work for you.  Although I am not currently accepting clients who are seeking to file a new bankruptcy case, you can contact me if you are considering replacement counsel in your bankruptcy case or seeking representation for a new or existing contested matter or adversary proceeding resulting from a bankruptcy case.

Our Services

If you are seeking advice or representation in any bankruptcy related matters, please contact me to schedule a free initial consultation.  Please note that I am not currently accepting clients who are seeking to file a new bankruptcy case.  You can schedule an appointment through this website by clicking here or you can contact me by phone at (248) 817-6669 or e-mail at sandra@sandraoconnorlaw.com. Do not disclose any confidential information in any initial voicemails or e-mails to schedule an appointment.  I will not be your attorney unless we enter into a signed retainer agreement.

I provide representation of trustees, creditors, debtors, and other interested parties in bankruptcy cases, as well as related contested matters, including, but not limited to:

  • Objections to Exemptions
  • Motions for Turnover
  • Objections to Proof of Claims
  • Motions for Relief from Automatic Stay
  • Motions to Compel Abandonment
  • Fee Applications
  • Motions to Compromise
  • Motions to Assume or Reject Executory Contracts
  • Motions for Contempt
  • Motions to Convert Case
  • Motions for Rule 2004 Examinations
  • Motions for Reconsideration
  • Motions for Sale of Property
  • Motions to Sell Free and Clear of Liens

I also provide representation of plaintiffs and defendants in adversary proceedings, including but not limited to lawsuits seeking:

  • Avoidance of Fraudulent Transfers
  • Avoidance of Voidable Transactions
  • Avoidance of Preferential Transfers (Preferences)
  • Determination of the Validity, Priority, and Extent of Liens
  • Objections to Discharge or Dischargeability of a Debt
  • Sale of Co-Owner’s Interest in Property Under 11 U.S.C. § 363(h)
  • Turnover

I have represented parties in hundreds of contested matters and adversary proceedings.  I take my duty to my clients very seriously and, where possible, work to resolve matters as early as possible to obtain the maximum benefit to my clients with the lowest fees.  Where this is not a possibility, I am also prepared to litigate the matter to conclusion and through appeals, and have substantial experience with aggressive litigation related to bankruptcy cases.  

When Bankruptcy Goes Wrong

If you have found this section of our website due to problems that have arisen in your existing case in which you represent yourself, or if you are concerned that your current representation is not adequate, please feel free to contact me to schedule a free initial consultation.  You can schedule an appointment by clicking here, or you can contact me by phone at 248-817-6669 or by e-mail at sandra@sandraoconnorlaw.com.  Do not disclose any confidential information in any initial voicemails or emails to schedule an appointment. If an order or judgment has already been entered against you, or if a motion or complaint has been filed against you, this is an emergency situation as there are very limited periods of time to take action to respond, appeal, or seek other relief from the court.  If this is the case, please contact me by phone or e-mail immediately.

My ten years of experience as a bankruptcy attorney have included substantial experience in the representation of trustees.  It breaks my heart to see many situations where debtors ended up in a worse position than if they had never filed for bankruptcy at all.  In several of these situations, the attorney that the debtor relied upon would fail to even respond to their inquiries, leading them to try to request help from the court or opposing counsel.  Everyone deserves competent representation to avoid situations like these, all of which are based on true events:

  • Trustee identifies substantial assets that the debtor did not realize that he had through a review of debtor’s documents.  Those assets are liquidated for the benefit of creditors and a bankruptcy could have potentially been avoided entirely if those assets were identified prior to the filing of bankruptcy.  
  • Certain property can be retained by debtors through exemptions.  Failure to maximize exemptions results in funds going to creditors that could have been retained for the debtor.
  • Exemptions are claimed without properly investigating whether the asset at issue qualifies for the exemption.  The exemption is denied and the debtor loses the property, which has included substantial assets assumed to be safe from bankruptcy such as retirement accounts.
  • Trustee requests documents from the debtor, which the debtor provides to his or her attorney.  The attorney fails to provide the documents to the trustee resulting in consequences such as denial of discharge or contempt sanctions.
  • A bankruptcy is filed for a business by the owner of the business.  The trustee identifies claims against the owner and sues the owner.
  • Trustee identifies claims against assets based upon unusual new theories from other jurisdictions.  Debtor is unaware of the legal theory and loses the asset.
  • Debtor’s property isn’t correctly valued at the time the case is filed.  The Trustee determines that the property is worth more than the debtor realized and liquidates it for the benefit of creditors.
  • Debtor files her own case without an understanding of the limitations of exemptions.  She ends up having to choose between her house and vehicle, and loses her vehicle which is liquidated for the benefit of creditors.

These are just a sampling of issues that frequently arise in bankruptcy cases due to self-representation or inadequate representation.  The consequences can be dire, including loss of property, denial of discharge of debts, or lawsuits being filed against the debtor or debtor’s family.  

If you have already filed a bankruptcy case and problems have arisen, we can discuss the possibility of hiring me as replacement counsel to try to correct or minimize any problems you might be facing in your current case.

Schedule an Appointment

I provide free initial consultations for all prospective clients.  Please note that I am not currently accepting clients who are seeking to file a new bankruptcy case. You can schedule an appointment by clicking here or by phone at (248) 817-6669 or by e-mail at sandra@sandraoconnorlaw.com. Do not disclose any confidential information in any initial voicemails or e-mails to schedule an appointment.  I will not be your attorney unless we enter into a signed retainer agreement.