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Macey & Aleman a/k/a Legal Helpers / Return of Retainer and Documents

1 233 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 5150, Chicago, IL, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 1-888-303-0431

I met with Katrina A. Clarkson of Legal Helpers on 10/4/08. After speaking with her I gave her a $100.00 retainer, copies of tax returns and bills. On 10/7/08 I decided against working with this firm and had my mother e-mail Ms. Clarkson regarding the return of the retainer and documents. Three (3) e-mails have been sent with my phone numbers asking for a return of the documents and retainer. To date (10/10/08), there has been no response. Calls have been made to their office only to be put on hold up to 20 minutes (had to hang up). I now realize that this company is a rip-off praying on people in financial trouble. They take whatever money they can; they will not do anything until paid in full; therefore, they have not really done any work for you and there should be no reason for them to fail to give a refund or even respond to potential customers when they attempt to contact them.

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Comments

  • Mo
      29th of Oct, 2008

    I also had seek legal help from Macey and Aleman and after the $100.00 of the retainer and $1300.00 for the case to file was paid their obligations to help me changed. I had called the office to talk to my attorney regarding my case 3 or 4 times and no one would call me back, the only person that I could talk to was the receptionist and the legal aid, So after weeks of trying to talk to the attorney I gave up and faxed a letter requesting for a refund. It's been 1 and 1/2 month and 4 phone calls and I still haven't heard or seen anything regarding my refund. I have talked to someone who claims to be a manager who told me he would forward my request because it was never done and several weeks later I still haven't heard anything. I think it's time for me to file a complaint with a small claims court now. Who ever is thinking about doing business with them, think again because they have failed to do any of the things they claimed they would.

    0 Votes
  • Kb
      12th of Nov, 2008

    I hired legalhelpers March 2008 after paying them in full we received no further help. Had to call and complain several times. Did not receive a call back from a lawyer until October 15th 2008 and it was obvious he was just looking over our file trying to do calculations while talking to me.

    The lawyer we initially met with left the firm and the 2nd lawyer was fired. We were told we were eligible for Chapter 7 and then were told 7 months later we didn't and need to do a chapter 13 and pay an additional $450.00!!

    We terminated our contract and am now waiting for a refund of any kind. Filed a grievance and that didn't work out too well the lawyers responded and the board felt there was no need for further action.

    This is ridiculous that they can get away with treating people this way!

    0 Votes
  • Ti
      15th of Nov, 2008

    These are a rip off. I filed inapril signed the petiton in july only to have garnishment come out ofmy husband check and the lawyer did not send the petiton to the trustees untill almost month later. They are rip off.They do notanswer calls or respond to emails let alone give you an update. They give some kind ofmomble jumble about you have to wait for the lawyer to call you.My lawyer even went as far as to say I am sorry Mam I have been way over my head in other cases to get to yours. This is crap and someone needsto do something about it. We hired these people to do a job give them our money and get no where in the end.

    0 Votes
  • Ha
      11th of Feb, 2009

    I hired Macey and Aleman in October of last year, and I couldn't be happier! Everyone I've dealt with from the office has been polite and helpful, and my attorney has returned my calls and/or resolved my issue every time I've contacted them. They even advised me to wait until a certain date to file so they could protect my income tax refund. I had a terrible experience with a bankruptcy attorney in the past, so I know how you can get jerked around, but this firm has been great. A firm as large as Macey and Aleman is bound to have a few dissatisfied customers, but I am definitely not one of them.

    0 Votes
  • Sh
      28th of Mar, 2009

    I took my mother to the Legal Helpers office in Pittsburgh in October 2008. She gave them a check paid in full that same day. She was told by the attorney we met with that the bankruptcy filing would be done by the end of the year and that she may have to appear in court to answer some minor questions which would be no big deal. TO THIS DATE, March 28, 2009, NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE. Similar stories as above. Cannot talk to a lawyer. Was told that the lawyer we met with was no longer with them. Can never talk to the same person twice. Told she would be called back and never was. She called them at least once a week. "It will be filed on Friday." she was told this every week. It does not take 6 months to file a bankruptcy. This place is a fraud and they are ripping off people every day. Something has to be done about it. My mother is 73 years old and she doesn't have a penny to her name. They should be ASHAMED of themselves.

    0 Votes
  • Kn
      20th of Apr, 2009

    My husband contracted with Legal Helpers aka Macey & Aleman for our bankruptcy over the internet back in December of 2007! he made payments and finished up 12/01/08 a year later.



    Three revised petitions later, my name is incorrect, there is missing debt, and real estate surrendered is still listed on schedule F instead of D.



    I finally gave up and sent certified mail and fax notice of termination on April 7th and demanded a full refund in 10 business days, deadline is tomorrow.



    Since then, Lee Shottenfeld called and tried to keep us on the next day, I explained and said I was dissatisfied with our service and that there simply were too many errors on all the petitions and that their "streamlined service" sucked and that they needed to sit down with their clients as you cannot talk to an attorney otherwise. She pursued to tell me that all administrative fees would be deducted so I requested time sheet back up.



    On April 10th, someone named Jen called and explained that the reason things were taking so long is because we are border line chapter 13... I explained that if anyone actually did review our case they would realize that 131k of that debt was on the wrong schedule! She however explained to me, since I would not keep them on my refund would be expedited to accounting. Jen assured me with my request that I would have a completely detailed breakdown of all charges as once again I requested time sheet detail.



    This company is HORRIBLE, it has to be an embarrassment not to even get your clients name incorrect but the documentation could have been done better myself.



    On Wednesday the 22nd, I will be going to file for fee arbitration or small claims. I think there should be mass law suit for there incompetence.
    Damage Resulting = I have a creditor (Honesdale National Bank) who does not even believe we have an attorney because she would call, even a week before I terminated and all they said was, "there was no status on our case." Our phones are unplugged because of the harassing debt collectors, we are receiving summons for court and they never responded on our behalf.
    Contact me = Y

    0 Votes
  • Jm
      16th of Jul, 2009

    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.

    +1 Votes
  • Lu
      28th of Mar, 2018

    @jmalone I too have had the worst experience with this call {Legal Helper} .Me Lucila Cruz.Please never, ever use Macey & Aleman services.

    0 Votes
  • Sc
      4th of Dec, 2009

    I too have had the worst time with Legal Helpers in California. I have worked in the Legal field and I would have been fired if I gave this type of service. No return phone calls or follow ups and they also lost my financial documents which I mailed certified and was signed by them. That is sensitive information and they lost it and they have nothing to say about it! They need a better way of dealing with the volume of cases they get. I'm not sure if I should go after them for losing my documents or not. I just want to be discharged and be done with it and hopefully someone isn't using my tax info for fraud. Scary! Find Lawyers through Legal Aid, which I should have done. Good luck all!!

    0 Votes
  • Ne
      4th of Dec, 2009

    I would like to follow up:

    I took my attorney to fee arbitration after hiring a new attorney that gave me great service. You cannot talk about fee arbitration while the process is going on. Although, inexperienced at it. I did point out that they charged me incorrect fees per contract, incorrect hours and was awarded some money. HOWEVER, they did comply and pay the funds due to me within the 30 days required by law. I have since contacted the Office of Attorney Ethics and they have given them 10 days to pay, they have 5 days left or their practice will be suspended and reviewed by the Supreme Court. This is however only by location, people should stand up for themselves more. Macey and Aleman is a disgrace.

    +1 Votes
  • Ne
      4th of Dec, 2009

    They did NOT comply ... sorry typo above

    0 Votes
  • Ki
      23rd of Feb, 2010

    I hired Macey and Aleman (Philadelphia) Legal Helpers, back in December of 2008, they have not done one thing for me only answered a few phone calls and emails. I was on a payment plan all of which I paid $550.00, when my car got repossessed, I called them to see if we could get the ball rolling and get my car back, because I knew that once I filed a chapter 13 this would give me protection. I had fifteen days to get the car back before auction and I call Macey and Alman everyday to speak with an attorney, but I never received a call back, nor did they seem anxious to do anything for me. I finally contacted another attorney, who by the way is great, Alfonso Madrid, Esq. He filed my petition in two days, and I was in court getting an order for them to release my car. I got it back. Macey and Aleman did absolutely nothing and will not refund the $550.00 that they did not earn. I want to file a class action law suit against them.
    Do not use this firm ever!!!

    +1 Votes
  • Kn
      24th of Feb, 2010

    In regards to Macey and Aleman, you will never get your money back unless you fight for it. I can recommend to you first make a demand of refund within say a 14 or 30 day window via certified mail due to poor service. I think I received about $500 of my money this way...

    Then you have to file in a suit in fee arbitration (this is not scary and way easier than small claims) as Macey & Aleman will make a lot of mistakes in their billing... They were not even charging me a the correct hourly fee, and if you read the fine print I think it said they could increase the fee at their discretion etc... They make up their charges and they will not even match your phone bill in the least. I won another measly few hundred bucks in fee arbitration...about $300 ...(while in fee arb. you cannot talk/post about the case either until it is finished)...

    HOWEVER, the still did not pay me within the 30 days by law... I had to contact the Supreme Court up in Trenton to threaten suspending their practice over I think an additional $300... They paid with one day to spare...
    Anyone is welcome to contact me at any time from help, they are a crappy firm and need consequence.

    0 Votes
  • Ki
      24th of Feb, 2010

    Thanks for the response. I did send a certified letter in regards to my refund, however they sent me a letter regarding their astronomical fees. I will go to arbitration, because they did absolutely nothing for me and no phone calls or emails are worth $595.00 especially when I did not talk to an attorney at all!!!

    0 Votes
  • Rg
      9th of Mar, 2010

    I am stressed even more after reading all of these comments, I mean I know they are swamped but I was reassured that since I paid up front and in full they would start asap. well these people bring new meaning to that! I called the 1-800 # and actually heard a secretary being coached (through a 3rd party line) on what CRAP to tell me, so I told the 3rd party person to get on and talk to me..Well w/in 30 min. the head Attny from my area in which I originally met with called me. I had my paperwork w/in 2 days, and I signed everything and overnighted it. That was a week before xmas, it is now almost 3 mo. later and have heard NOTHING!!! So I just left a message on the Attny' direct # I'll give 1 day and if I get no response I will call everyday then file a report w/the BBB and take the next steps after that! I always read reviews before I do something, I wish I would have this time..Thanks to everyone for their imput!

    0 Votes
  • Rg
      9th of Mar, 2010

    Has anyone that hired this firm ever had their original "business" taken care of??

    0 Votes
  • Kn
      9th of Mar, 2010

    Once you fire them through fax (remember to get your fax confirmation) or via certified mail... the actual attorney will be contacting you to keep your business. I still fired them because of the sloppy paperwork ie. missing creditors and misspellings of my name etc.

    In regards to fee arbitration, make sure you challenge fees - per line item. Since they charge you a lump sum, it gets difficult and they should have sent you an itemization back. Now since the contract states they can change their "rate" at any time it gets tricky. Be prepared to get past phone bills etc. This is the only way to get any money back. I was about to hyperventilate about their complete lack of responsibility to the matter. Document everything and challenge every line item and remember not to talk about it while it is happening (like jury trials).

    ...These crap attorneys raised my fee the day I signed the contract, which was BS... they make things up as they are not used to itemizing. Keep a detailed log about every time you call, fax, email or snail mail.

    Also remember that each firm location is treated separately and against the individual attorney.

    If anyone needs any information, please contact me. Thanks!

    0 Votes
  • Kn
      9th of Mar, 2010

    PS... In fee arbitration the "counseling fees" are refundable as they have no explanation on how to prorate the before and after counseling separately...

    0 Votes
  • Kn
      9th of Mar, 2010

    ...and when you fire them, don't forget to demand ALL of your money back on the fax...

    0 Votes
  • Si
      20th of Apr, 2010

    DO NOT GO TO MACEY & ALEMAN (LEGAL HELPERS) FOR LEGAL HELPS!!!

    It was my first time filing bankruptcy; therefore, I was seeking out for reliable law firms (as I thought). I came to M&A in Atlanta and was consulted by Berk Sauls and was convinced to pay them ASAP to get the petition done. I paid them in full (almost $1600) on that same day since I was desperately wanted to get it done. It took them more than a month to get everything together. The shocking part was that I was never be able to talk to the damn Berk Sauls again but his lazy fat (black) receptionist, and the answer was always that my petition was in its transition. No body would contact me for updates but I had to personally came to there office to talk to them. When I call their toll free they would tell me to talk to the local attorney. I was very angry but have no time to withdraw but to continue until the end. The damn office never contacted me even after the discharge was granted but I have to find it out myself. When call them they would tell me to wait. It was a miscible experience and I would like to let everyone know to STAY AWAY FROM LEGAL HELPERS.

    0 Votes
  • Ba
      11th of May, 2010

    I hired Macey & Aleman after an initial consultation at their New Jersey office in mid March 2010. At that time, I paid all fees and costs and provided every single document that they asked for. Also, all my papers were neatly organized by category and in order. I had a meeting with the attorney one week after my initial consult and it was confirmed that they had everything they needed to file my case. Three weeks later, I received a call telling me that they were waiting for my documents so my case could be worked on. I called and was told that was a mistake and they did in fact have my documents. In mid April 2010 I called to check on the status of my case (it was now a month after they had payment in full and all of my documents) and was told the file was nearly complete and my case would be filed that week. Now 3 weeks later, it is mid May and I called to ask why my case was not filed and I was told that they had many cases they were working on but promised that my case would be filed by the end of the month! I should have followed my instincts and used a local well know bankruptcy attorney. I had a consult with a local bankruptcy attorney and the fee he quoted was only $300 more than Macey & Aleman. Like they say "penny wise and dollar foolish". Do not use this firm you will get nothing except aggravation.

    0 Votes

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