• Report: #340971

Complaint Review: Legal Helpers- Macey & Aleman Law Firm

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  • Submitted: Tue, June 17, 2008
  • Updated: Sun, July 08, 2012

  • Reported By:Elmhurst New York
Legal Helpers- Macey & Aleman Law Firm
420 Lexington, RM 2132 New York, New York U.S.A.
  • Phone: 800-260-1402
  • Web:
  • Category: Lawyers

Legal Helpers- Macey & Aleman Law Firm Macey & Aleman does not provide the legal services that clients pay for. New York Nationwide

*Consumer Comment: I am a client also

*Consumer Comment: Finally.....

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: In support of MY OWN legal practices, KIVA JAMES, ESQ.

*UPDATE Employee: Rebuttal

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I had the very unfortunate experience of being a client of Macey and Aleman. This firm is a complete disaster and it was a nightmare working with them. The attorneys at Macey and Aleman do not respect their clients, and are incapable of providing adequate legal services in a timely manner. It was a huge mistake on my part for not shopping around and researching other attorneys. I just hope that my story will make any potential clients think twice before retaining Macey and Aleman. I strongly advise anyone that is considering this firm to go somewhere else. There are hundreds of lawyers out there that charge less and will provide much better service. The $274 they charge for the credit counseling classes is a truly a rip off. There are many companies online that charge just $50 for the same services. The operators at the 800 number that they make clients call are hopelessly incompetent and unorganized. During the process of my simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy, I had three different lawyers and it took them almost four months to file the petition.
After reading about this firms negative accounting practices, I decided not to make an attempt to get a refund from Macy and Aleman. I could not afford to throw away almost two thousand dollars and then spend another $1500 to hire another attorney to take over my case. In response to the partners comment, there are many more complaints about Macey and Aleman on other websites. Just Google your name and you will easily find a lot of people that have the same issues. It is also very feasible that there are countless numbers of unsatisfied customers. Fortunately for Macy and Aleman, most people just do not file formal detailed complaints.
I retained Kiva James in August 2007 and set up a payment plan for the attorneys fees. I was scheduled to make my last payment on January 2008. Kiva advised that after my last payment was received, she would take about two weeks to type up the bankruptcy petition. After that, I would get the papers in the mail so that I could sign them, and my court date would scheduled about a month after the petition was filed. I paid off my attorneys fees in December, hoping that my paper work would be completed so I could go to court sooner.
After making the last payment, I waited two weeks and did not hear anything from my attorney. I called the number that was on Kivas business card and was forwarded to an automated message telling me to call the 800 number that is also listed on legalhelpers.com. The operator told me that my bankruptcy petition had just been sent in the mail and that I should be receiving it soon. Another two weeks go by and I did not receive anything in the mail or any contact from Macey and Aleman. I called the 800 number again and was told that my petition was still being typed. As anyone would, I became extremely irate after hearing this since I was given a completely different story. I hung up and called again an hour later, in hopes that I could speak to a different operator that might actually know what they are doing. A guy answered and immediately contacted the Brooklyn office. He stated that my attorney had not yet received any of the paper work that she needed to begin processing my bankruptcy. This had been the first time that anyone from Macey and Aleman told me that these documents were needed.
I sent all of the documents that night by certified mail, and left several messages every single day for Kiva to call me to confirm that she had everything. Finally, three weeks later I get a call from her letting me know that it was time for me to take the credit-counseling course. This would be the only phone call I would ever get from this attorney. A few hours after Kivas phone call, I completed the online course and faxed her office a copy of the certificate. The company that conducted the credit counseling also informed me that Kiva would have a copy of the certificate emailed to her. At this point, it has been two months after I paid off the entire attorneys fees, and I was not even close to getting my petition filed with the bankruptcy court. At the most, a bankruptcy attorney needs two weeks to gather all of the information, fill out the bankruptcy form templates, and file it online.
A month goes by after I completed the credit counseling course, and unsurprisingly I did not get any communication whatsoever from Kiva James. I literally called the 866 number several times a day to hear the operators tell me something completely different every time I called. They refused to give me the direct number to Kivas office. I asked to speak to a manager and for some reason they were always unavailable. I left message after message, and email after email. One operator told me that my case was not a priority for them because I was not losing my home. Obviously, that is not how any law firm should treat a client. Three months after paying my fees, I had no petition or even a call from an attorney.
My moment of desperation came when a levy was placed on my bank account. All of my savings and rent money was frozen. The entire reason why I hired Macey and Aleman to go bankrupt was to prevent that from happening. Of course, my attorney, Kiva James, was nowhere to be found. When I contacted one of the operators to leave her one of many urgent messages, he suggested that I should apply for a credit card to use while my account was frozen. What kind of advice was that? Who tells someone that is trying to file bankruptcy to apply for a credit card? Craziness. I was amazed at how ridiculous my situation with Macey and Aleman was becoming. Despite this, a different operator informed me that the Brooklyn office had just moved to a new building in Manhattan. Lucky for me, their new office was located right across the street from where I work.
I dropped by and met Michelle who happened to be the managing attorney. I told her what happened with Kiva and that I had been waiting over three months for my petition. Michelle seemed concerned and looked around the office for a copy of my petition so I could finally sign it. Predictably, it was not to be found. She said that it must have been mailed out but just in case she would print out another one for me to sign right there. And then another set back. The internet was not working so she could not access the paperwork. Those papers never did come in the mail, and I had to wait another two weeks to finally sign my bankruptcy petition. After fighting for almost four months, my case was finally filed by Michelle. What ever happened to Kiva? When I went to court, a different lawyer met me and prepared me for the hearing. I had already given up on Macey and Aleman so that was not even an issue. But why did I have to have three different lawyers anyways? I tried contacting Michelle about my case after it was filed because I had a few questions. She never called me back, which is just what Macey and Aleman attorneys do. They take your money and then do not provide the legal advice that you hired them to give you.

Nightfire
Elmhurst, New York
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/17/2008 06:59 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Legal-Helpers-Macey-Aleman-Law-Firm/New-York-New-York-10170/Legal-Helpers-Macey-Aleman-Law-Firm-Macey-Aleman-does-not-provide-the-legal-services-340971. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 4Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

I am a client also

AUTHOR: TKRAP - (United States of America)

I would support what Macy & Aleman stated 9they are now known as Macy Law Firm). True they do not always get back with you right away Most office are run by one attorney and an assistant. I have been struggking to pay the fees to begin with but they have been helpful in getting me on track. The main issue I see is communication. BK is rough enough but as a cient you must communicate to the law firm. I failed when we did a few things and now instead of doing a 7 we have to do a 13, but our attorney (our second one) basically told us what the clear options our and we have to decide. They can only do as much as the info we give them. They have to make sure all the correct paper work is ready or the judge may not accept it. 

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#2 Consumer Comment

Finally.....

AUTHOR: DJ - (United States of America)

It's great to see that this unethical and fraudulent "law firm" is finally being sued.
Hopefully, all of the clients that were ripped off will get some justice for having to deal with all of these sleazy attorneys.  How can you sleep at night knowing that you're just aggravating the lives of struggling people that already feel helpless?  Everyone that works at this firm is a disgusting and heartless human being.  All of you should get disbarred. 
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#3 UPDATE EX-employee responds

In support of MY OWN legal practices, KIVA JAMES, ESQ.

AUTHOR: Kiva James - (U.S.A.)

First and foremost, I apologize (on my own behalf) for anything I might or might not have done to contribute to Fireside's unpleasant experience. However, when you stopped receiving case updates from me it was because I was no longer employed with the firm and it would have been inappropriate (legally and ethically) for me to contact you again. At that point it was up to any of the several members of the firm to keep you informed as to the status of your Chapter 7 petition. Keep in mind that when you retain Legal Helpers d/b/a Macey & Aleman, you are retaining legal services to be performed by a GROUP PRACTICE, not representation by any individual attorney. Lastly, and most importantly, I sincerely hope you have since succeeded in achieving the goals you set for yourself when you decided to file for bankruptcy -a fresh start financially.
Respectfully submitted,
Kiva V. James, Esq.
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#4 UPDATE Employee

Rebuttal

AUTHOR: Legal Helpers - (U.S.A.)

The law firm wishes to offer its sincerest apologies to this person since the case did not proceed as expected. However, it is important to note that the case did proceed, the client got exactly what was contracted for (albeit slower than she would have liked) and the case is proceeding successfully to date, though its not over yet.

There are a few factual inaccuracies that compel me to respond further.

First, no individual attorney is retained by a client. The firm is retained by the client and in our agreement clients agree that different lawyers can work on different aspects of the case.

Second, the $274 this client claims we "charged" her for credit counseling is untrue. The $274 was a package of services which included credit counseling and the post-filing financial management course (most vendors offer each course for $50 each). The package also included a post-discharge credit review (this service alone is offered at hundreds of dollars from vendors), the retrieval of four years of tax transcripts from the IRS and a three source credit report. The costs and the services were clearly outlined in the agreement this client signed. Also, the services were optional and that was clearly disclosed on all of the paperwork. So, the allegations that the $274 was only for "credit counseling" is not accurate.

Third, when this client came in to get a copy of her petition, she walked in the day we were moving and internet installation had not yet been completed and all paperwork was in boxes.

That being said, we regret this client's experience. Personnel changes have occured in both the call center and the local office and those personnel changes moving forward have been in the best interests of the firm. Thus the personnel responsible for some of the items this client complains about have been replaced.

As for the phone calls, it is the firm's policy that any client get immediate answers to their questions as soon as they call. There should be no need to leave messages or play phone tag. In the rare case where a return phone call is necessary, it has always been the firm's policy to immediately return phone calls. In this client's case, each time she called someone from the firm answered her call and provided information to her. Certainly I understand that the information provided may not have been what she was hoping to hear, but to say that "no one called me back" is misleading. It's not typically necessary for anyone to call back because all the available information is being provided at the time of the initial call. In fact, in this case, the client's questions after her case was filed were appropriately and adequately answered by staff immediately during the initial call. It is unreasonable to request someone call back once the person has just received the answer to their question.

In addition, this client's case is currently pending and is proceeding successfully. This, despite the fact that this client bounced a check and has not paid it yet. The firm provided all contracted services to this client. Granted, the case didn't move at her preferred pace and for that I apologize and have made changes in personnel, but the services were provided and the case proceeded reasonably under the circumstances.
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