Case Study: The Law Offices of Sean T. Flynn
Enhanced bankruptcy services driven by better data research
When Sean Flynn entered law school, he saw himself becoming a constitutional scholar. But he was surprised to find that his favorite class wasn’t constitutional law but bankruptcy. Luckily, he excelled in that specialty, because when he graduated from law school in 2010, the country was still recovering from the Great Recession, and consumer bankruptcy was one of the few areas where law firms were hiring. After working 10 months in one Texas law firm and more than eight years for another, Sean established his own firm, The Law Offices of Sean T. Flynn, with offices in Austin and San Antonio, in June 2019.
Some might think that helping consumers file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy sounds dry, but Sean finds it anything but. In fact, a significant part of his job entails playing detective, which is made much easier by Tracers bankruptcy law investigations software and functionalities such as assets search. Sean’s willingness to navigate public records—which he can efficiently do using Tracers—sets him apart from much of the competition. Many other firms limit their public-record research to “going to the county website to find what’s in the property records,” he says.
“I knew, when I started my firm, that I wanted to be doing more. So as soon as I found Tracers, I jumped into it.” Sean typically runs a comprehensive report on each client. This encompasses asset search services, court records, and a wealth of other data. With this report, “everything’s in one place,” he says, and the table of contents feature makes it simple to navigate directly from one section to another. Usually he begins by reviewing the court records, then asset searches. “Oftentimes clients aren’t aware that they have an asset. Finding out that they had an asset they recently sold or transferred, that’s been very helpful.” Beyond conducting a bankruptcy records search, Sean searches for state judgments and lawsuits.
“Often the clients, they get letters, they lose the letters. They’re coming to me years after the fact, and they don’t know who’s filed the lawsuit against them,” he explains. “So finding that, and then being able to include it in the petition, and if there’s a judgment, get it cleared off, that’s also helpful.”
Among the other searches Sean runs are for marriage records and contact information for ex-spouses who have seemingly disappeared. “If the clients have a domestic support obligation, I have to report that in bankruptcy,” he says. Even when those payments are going to the Texas attorney general rather than directly to the former spouse, the bankruptcy filing needs to provide the ex-spouse’s last known address.
Tracers’ functionality as criminal record search software has also served Sean well. Clients don’t always want to admit that they have a criminal record, but if they’re paying a probation fee, that information “can actually be beneficial to their case,” he says.
Sean discovered Tracers while using Clio legal practice management software and the Casetext legal research tool, two solutions that integrate with Tracers. The Clio- Tracers integration enables users to initiate searches directly from a Clio matter file, which transfers contact’s details to Tracers to begin the search process instantly. The research can then be saved onto the Clio matter file. Clio, in turn, is integrated with Jubilee by LegalPRO, the solution Sean uses to file his bankruptcy petitions.
While working at other law firms, he had used a different legal research software, but upon coming across Tracers, “I was immediately impressed,” Sean says. “It was within my price range, and it targeted more of what I wanted to use it for and do.” Getting the solution set up was quick and easy, “and the rest is history. I’ve been very happy.” One of Sean’s recent cases sums up Tracers’ effectiveness as not just bankruptcy records software but as an all around legal research tool.
“When we’re doing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it’s a matter of trying to figure out if they qualify based on some of the expenses and things that they have. I was able to use it to find out that, yes, they had probation fees they were paying that they didn’t really want to come forward with,” he says. “And Tracers was able to find out that they had a second mortgage that didn’t show up on the initial credit report. And so it actually helped me as far as determining information that wasn’t readily available from what the clients provided in order to get their petition where it needed to be.” The upshot? “The case was successful. They got their discharge.”