Symmes Law Group Helps Clients Facing Bankruptcy Understand Their Options and Take Action

Symmes Law Group Helps Clients Facing Bankruptcy To Take Action

In a Nutshell: Symmes Law Group provides services to help people navigate debt settlements and bankruptcy filings. The firm, based in Seattle, assists clients throughout Washington. Symmes Law Group’s educational resources help its clientele understand the intricacies of bankruptcy proceedings. The firm extends convenience to clients by offering to meet with them virtually.

People struggling to manage debt can feel helpless. While they work to save money to service their debt, each day can bring unexpected expenses and new bills. But debt-laden individuals have allies in their corner and resources at their disposal to help them overcome their debt and move on to greener financial pastures.

Symmes Law Group helps its clients access debt relief. We spoke with Richard Symmes, the firm’s founder and owner, to learn more about its services and approach to helping people struggling with debt.

Symmes Law Group logo

Symmes graduated from law school in 2008 while the U.S. was in the midst of a recession. Symmes said he had never taken a class that covered bankruptcy laws — he was always more interested in real estate law. After graduating from law school, Symmes focused on legal work in the real estate arena.

Symmes said the recession limited the availability of jobs centering on real estate law, and he began to seek new opportunities. A friend of his owned a bankruptcy law firm in Colorado, and Symmes said he went to work with his friend to gain experience.

“Although I’d never intended to work in bankruptcy law, my experience in Colorado went well, and I decided to establish my firm,” Symmes said.

Symmes started Symmes Law Group in 2010 in his hometown of Seattle.

Symmes said the pandemic changed the way his firm operates. Whereas his businesses used to require him to drive to court appointments and meetings, Symmes said most court hearings and meetings now occur virtually or on the phone.

“The time-savings of not having to travel for work has allowed me to expand my practice throughout the state of Washington,” Symmes said. “I handle cases from Spokane to Seattle and in the southern parts of the state. A client’s location within the state doesn’t matter anymore.”

Experience Sets Symmes Law Group Apart

Symmes said his firm has served thousands of clients since opening its doors in 2010. In addition to bankruptcy services, Symmes Law Group offers legal services for debt settlement, real estate, and foreclosure mediation.

Symmes Law Group employs paralegals and increases staffing during busier periods. Symmes said his experience differentiates his firm from its competitors.

“I increase staffing to help manage workloads when needed,” Symmes said. “MetLife reached out to me in early 2024, and they really wanted me to work with them. We negotiated a good deal, and now I’m working with all kinds of people from large tech companies. I help them with a lot of their needs related to estate planning and buying and selling real estate.”

Richard Symmes
Richard Symmes is the founder and owner of Symmes Law Group.

Symmes Law Group incorporates technology into its daily practices to be efficient for its clients, Symmes said.

“I think my clients appreciate how I streamline information for them,” Symmes said. “I’m available to communicate with them, even by email. People have told me they appreciate my professionalism and the years of experience I have in this field.”

Symmes said most of his clients discover him online. Symmes Law Group posts videos on its website that cover bankruptcy and debt settlement topics. Symmes appears on a local radio show once per month, and Symmes Law Group posts the audio from the radio show on its site for clients to access.

Symmes said clients may think they know how to solve their debt issues, but once he reviews a client’s situation with them, he proposes a better solution.

“With debt settlement, it’s important to talk to clients to learn of their unique circumstances,” Symmes said. “For people with a less than ideal debt-to-income ratio, it may be in their best interest to just do a chapter 7. That way, they can pay very little to make all their debt go away, as opposed to struggling month after month with a debt settlement.”

Educational Resources Guide Clients to Financial Health

When working with new clients, Symmes said he starts by assessing whether filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will suit their needs. Symmes said most people who file for Chapter 7 get to keep all their possessions, but a person’s income can disqualify them from being eligible to file for Chapter 7. 

Symmes said clients who aren’t eligible to file for Chapter 7 may be able to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. 

Symmes Law Group guide
Symmes Law Group provides online access to educational materials.

“Chapter 13 is probably a better fit for people who make a good income but are having problems paying their bills every month,” Symmes said. “If they haven’t missed a payment yet, Chapter 13 makes the most sense. It can prevent people from having to worry about creditors suing them.”

Symmes said some people believe filing for bankruptcy will hinder their ability to access credit, but, for many people, it increases their credit scores. 

Symmes said people considering filing for bankruptcy need to understand the significance of when they file.

“I tell people to just get it over with now because they may not qualify to file later,” Symmes said. “If someone’s been injured on the job and they can’t work, they might qualify for chapter 7 today. But if they wait six months, filing for bankruptcy may not be an option for them.”

Symmes Law Group provides its clients with an outline highlighting what to expect at each stage of the bankruptcy process. Symmes said many clients want to improve their situation but aren’t sure how to do so.

Symmes Law Group devotes a portion of its website to answering common bankruptcy questions. The firm’s blog contains educational posts about bankruptcy alongside topics that can help clients improve their financial health, including how to establish a personal financial plan and tips for selling a home in a changing housing market.

Economic Factors Can Exacerbate Debt Issues

Symmes Law Group works with clients who have significant debt but aren’t candidates for filing for bankruptcy. Symmes said Symmes Law Group can help parties who owe a creditor a lump sum to negotiate the repayment of their debt.

“If someone owes a creditor $5,000, I may be able to negotiate that amount down to a lower amount — $2,500, $2,000, or something like that,” Symmes said. “I also work with people who have higher incomes and may be able to save up and pay down their debt. Maybe they’re waiting to sell a piece of property, which will give them a bunch of money to settle their debt. For those people, debt settlement may make more sense than filing for bankruptcy.”

Economic factors, such as inflation, can influence people’s ability to manage their finances and avoid debt. Symmes said he expects people to continue to accumulate debt in the coming years, though a person’s financial circumstances and the cost of living where they reside can impact their overall financial health.

Symmes Law Group provides services to help its clients protect their assets. Symmes said the firm can stop the foreclosure of a client’s house, but sometimes it’s in a client’s best interest to sell their house.

“I go over all the options with clients,” Symmes said. “Some people may be in danger of losing their house anyway. By being proactive and selling their house, at least they’re able to get some money in their pockets that they otherwise wouldn’t have.”