Legal Helpers Debt Settlement Company and Bankruptcy Lawyers

I found a couple of interesting articles and blogs recently about a lawsuit by the Illinois Attorney General accusing Legal Helpers, LLC of violations of Illinois law http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/03/02/attorney-general-sues-debt-resolution-firm-for-fraud/ and http://getoutofdebt.org/. It looks like the suit involves Legal Helpers working as bankruptcy lawyers and also working on debt settlement. From the suit Legal Helpers would contract out the debt settlement work to a third party debt settlement company, with little to no involvement by attorneys at the firm. The Attorney General is alleging that this mislead consumers and cost them thousands of dollars of fees, since the clients thought they were working with an attorney, when in fact they got another debt consolidator. Legal Helpers has an office in Minnesota and I wonder if the same practices are happening in Minnesota?
An attorneys duty is to our clients to provide them the best possible advice to help them through their legal issues. Legal Helpers has practiced bankruptcy law for years, and would realize that in most cases bankruptcy is a better option than debt settlement, although not always the most profitable option for the attorney. If the attorney could refer clients to the debt settlement company, which often charge much higher fees than the cost of bankruptcy, they would be able to make much larger profits using the guise of attorney representation. This practice is suspect, since in most cases debt settlement is not effective and leaves a consumer in a much worse place. Their advertising for bankruptcy also indicates that they do not believe debt consolidation to be effective in the majority of cases. Why would a bankruptcy firm advertise that debt consolidation is not effective, yet sell people on debt consolidation? The answer is simple, the debt consolidation companies charge much higher fees than bankruptcy lawyers, creating an immense opportunity for profit by attorneys who would provide both services. The problem is that most clients could not afford the full cost of attorney representation to settle their debts, so if they think they are hiring a law firm at the same cost of a debt settlement company, that is the option they would probably choose.
If you are thinking about debt consolidation it is important to look at other options before you begin. In many cases the debt consolidator is providing a service you could do yourself and for a much smaller fee. It is also important to contact a bankruptcy attorney who is looking out for your best interest, not attempting to sell you on the most profitable option for them.