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Was Upright Law Started by the Same People From Legal Helpers?

By on November 15, 2017

A reader sent me the following statement that made me want to know more. They said, “Upright Law was started by the same people from Legal Helpers including Chern.”

I have no clue so I took a look.

Upright Law

It appears Upright Law is an assumed name for Law Solutions Chicago. Other assumed names are Allen Chern Law, Jason Allen Law, Immediate Payroll Information Services, Allen & Associates, and Law Solutions.

Upright Law Corporate Registration

In this case a representative of Upright Law described them by saying, “We are the biggest bankruptcy law firm in the U.S. In rush cases like this, we are pretty much probably one of the best firms you need to be going with because a lot of attorneys are hard to get a hold of and you gotta sit down and meet with them and do all this stuff. By the time all that’s done, everything is already gone and it’s too late to file a case. With us, we have more than one person handling it, there is multiple people handling your case. That’s why we are going to get it done pretty fast.” – Source

The Managers of Law Solutions of Chicago are listed as:
Kevin Chern – Chicago, IL
Jason Allen – Chicago, IL
Lynn Coleman – Kernersville, NC

Law Solutions of Chicago managers  - Kevin Chern, Jason Allen, Lynn Coleman

There are several active federal lawsuits naming Upright Law. It looks like at least one bankruptcy court Trustee has an axe to grind.

In this case in Virginia the bankruptcy Trustee Judy Robbins made the following statements.

“7. Defendant Kevin W. Chern is an attorney licensed by the State of Illinois to practice law. Chern is not licensed to practice law in Virginia.

8. Defendant Jason Royce Allen is an attorney licensed by the State of Illinois to practice law. Allen is not licensed to practice law in Virginia.

9. Defendant Law Solutions Chicago LLC (“LSC”) is an Illinois company. It filed articles of organization with the Illinois Secretary of State on October 10, 2008. It is authorized to transact business in Illinois under the following active assumed names: Jason Allen Law LLC; Upright Law LLC; and Allen & Associates, LLC. It has the following inactive assumed names in Illinois: Immediate Payroll Information Services LLC; and Law Solutions. It also holds itself out as a service of “Allen Chern Law.”

10. LSC solicits clients over the Internet. On its website, it purports to have “Local Offices Nationwide.”

11. On information and belief, LSC does not have offices nationwide.

12. LSC was domesticated in Virginia on April 14, 2014. It listed its principal office as 25 E. Washington Street, Suite 400, Chicago, Illinois.

13. Chern, Allen, and Lynn Coleman are listed in documents filed with the Illinois Secretary of State as the managers of LSC.

14. On information and belief, Chern and Allen are members in LSC and its affiliates.

15. According to LSC’s website, Defendant Edmund Scanlan is the chief executive officer of “Upright Law,” and a manager of an entity named Upright Litigation, LLC. According to LSC’s website, “all legal services are provided by affiliated and related entities.” The website states that Scanlan is the “CEO” or “Administrator” of every entity allegedly providing the legal services to prospective debtors.

16. Defendant Upright Law LLC is a Virginia company. Allen signed the articles of organization for Upright Law LLC that were filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission on or about January 9, 2015. According to the articles, the company’s principal office is located at 98 Alexandria Pike, Suite 10, Warrenton, Virginia 20186. A copy of the articles of organization is attached as Exhibit 1.

17. Defendant Darren Delafield is a longstanding member of the bar of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia. Delafield’s law office is located at 4311 Williamson Road, N.W., Roanoke, Virginia 24012. Delafield practices before this court as a sole practitioner and also purports to be a partner in Upright Law LLC by virtue of a limited partnership agreement. During the relevant period of time for this case, Delafield also purported to be a partner in Prince Law LLC by virtue of a limited partnership agreement.

18. Delafield is subject to an April 30, 2013 consent order entered in Robbins v. Delafield (In re Randolph), No. 12-71417 (attached as Exhibit 2 and incorporated herein by reference) regarding his practice of law before this Court. Among other things, the order requires Delafield to review “the schedules, statement of financial affairs, and other documents filed on behalf of his clients” and to “personally compare the information contained in the documents filed with the Court to ensure that the information is consistent with other items listed in the documents, and is consistent with tax returns, pay advices, and other documentation that he obtains from the debtors.” – Source

Another Case Filed in Tennessee

Another Bankruptcy Trustee has filed suit against the firm in Tennessee. In this case the Trustee stated:

Law Solutions Chicago, Upright Law, Angelo Solis, Jacob Brown, Matt Cheehan, Grace Gardner

Law Solutions Chicago, Upright Law, Angelo Solis, Jacob Brown, Matt Cheehan, Grace Gardner

Law Solutions Chicago, Upright Law, Angelo Solis, Jacob Brown, Matt Cheehan, Grace Gardner

Law Solutions Chicago, Upright Law, Angelo Solis, Jacob Brown, Matt Cheehan, Grace Gardner

Law Solutions Chicago, Upright Law, Angelo Solis, Jacob Brown, Matt Cheehan, Grace Gardner

Law Solutions Chicago, Upright Law, Angelo Solis, Jacob Brown, Matt Cheehan, Grace Gardner

Legal Helpers Connection

I did find this court document which made a connection to Legal Helpers through Kevin Chern and maybe that’s what the reader was thinking of.

This court document says:

General Background Regarding The Defendants

1. Kevin W. Chern (“Chern”), an attorney that is not licensed to practice law in Virginia, is a part owner of Law Solutions Chicago LLC (“LSC”);
a. Chern holds himself out as an expert in law firm management;
b. Chern owned a part interest in a lead generating company called Total Attorneys and LSC was a client of Total Attorneys; and
c. In or about October 2013, Chern acquired an ownership interest in LSC and assumed the title “managing partner” of LSC.
d. Chern was also a partner at Macey and Chern, a Chicago bankruptcy law firm that no longer operates. Other known iterations of Macey and Chern include “Macey, Chern, and Diab”, and “Legal Helpers PC, a service of Macey, Chern & Diab.”

2. Jason Royce Allen (“Allen”), an attorney that is not licensed to practice law in Virginia, is a part owner of LSC;
a. Allen was the sole owner of LSC from approximately 2010 until October 2013; and
b. While Allen solely owned LSC, it operated as a traditional brick and mortar law firm.

3. Law Solutions Chicago LLC (“LSC”) is an Illinois company that is not authorized to transact business or practice law in Virginia;
a. LSC filed articles of organization with the Illinois Secretary of State on October 10, 2008;
b. Chern, Allen, and Lynn Coleman are listed in documents filed with the Illinois Secretary of State as the managers of LSC;
c. LSC obtained a certificate of registration to engage in the practice of law in Illinois pursuant to Rule 721 of the Illinois Supreme Court;
d. On April 21, 2014, LSC filed Form LLC-1.20 with the Illinois Secretary of State to transact business in Illinois under the name Upright Law LLC;
i. LSC also operates under active assumed names of: “Jason Allen Law, LLC” and “Allen & Associates, LLC;” and
ii. LSC has inactive assumed names of: “Immediate Payroll Information Services, LLC” and “Law Solutions;”
iii. LSC also holds itself out as a service of “Allen Chern Law”;
e. LSC solicits clients over the Internet;
f. From 2014 until after the filing of the complaints initiating these adversary proceedings, LSC represented on the website www.uprightlaw.com that it had “Local Offices Nationwide”;
i. LSC did not and does not have offices nationwide; and
g. LSC’s office is located at 79 W. Monroe St., Chicago, Illinois.

4. Edmund Scanlan (“Scanlan”), a non-attorney, is in reality a part owner of LSC;
a. LSC represented on www.uprightlaw.com that Scanlan was the chief executive officer of “Upright Law”.

5. John C. Morgan, Jr. (“Morgan”) is a member of the bar of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia and as of the filing of the complaints practiced law through his firm John C. Morgan, Jr., PLLC (“JCM PLLC”);
a. On February 6, 2005, Morgan filed a Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (ECF) System Full Participant Registration Form in which he stated his firm name as “John Carter Morgan, Jr., PLLC”;
i. JCM PLLC did not hold a certificate of registration from the Virginia State Bar (“VSB”) until after the commencement of the Scott Adversary Proceeding;
b. Morgan’s law office is located at 98 Alexandria Pike, Suite 10, Warrenton, Virginia 20186.

6. Darren T. Delafield (“Delafield”) is a member of the bar of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia.
a. Delafield’s law office is located at 4311 Williamson Road, NW, Roanoke, VA 24012;
b. Although he is a sole-proprietor, he advertises as a professional corporation; and
c. Delafield is subject to a prior order of this Court entered in case number 12-71417 on April 30, 2013 (“Delafield Order”), regarding his representation of debtors. Among other things, the prior order requires Delafield to witness his clients sign documents, charge reasonable fees, and maintain and keep contemporaneous time records for all bankruptcy work.

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7. Upright Law LLC (“Upright”) is a Virginia company that is authorized to practice law as a firm in Virginia;
a. Upright filed articles of organization with the Virginia State Corporation Commission on January 9, 2015;
i. The articles listed Morgan’s office address as the address for Upright’s principal office;
A. Upright’s principal office address is currently listed as 79 W. Monroe St., Chicago, Illinois;
b. Upright provided the VSB with a copy of its articles of organization on January 29, 2015. Thereafter, on March 3, 2015, the VSB provided notice to Upright that it would not be issued a certificate of registration until it submitted an application (which the VSB attached to its letter) and paid the required fee. The VSB mailed its March 3, 2015, letter to Upright’s registered agent;
i. Despite receiving notice it was not being issued a certificate of registration, Upright continued to hold itself out as a Virginia law firm;
c. On August 12, 2015, Upright submitted an application for a certificate of registration and the VSB issued it a certificate of registration;
i. The VSB Application listed Upright Law LLC’s address as 79 W. Monroe Street, Fifth Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60603.

8. Brian K. Fenner (“Fenner”), a non-attorney, testified he owns Collateral Services of Indiana LLC (“CSI”), Collateral Services LLC, Sperro LLC (“Sperro”), and Fenner & Associates LLC (“F&A”);
a. Sperro, Collateral Services of Indiana LLC, Collateral Services LLC, and Fenner & Associates LLC are Indiana companies;
b. Fenner operated CSI as a business offering towing and storage services until approximately May 22, 2015, when he began operating as Sperro;
c. Fenner attempted to hold out F&A as a law firm providing free bankruptcy representation to debtors;
i. By at least May 26, 2015, Chern was aware of Fenner’s efforts to misrepresent F&A as a law firm;
9. LSC, Upright Law LLC, Delafield, JCM PLLC, and Morgan are debt relief agencies.

Chern And Scanlan Become Part Owners Of LSC

10. Chern and Scanlan have a history of owning businesses together. Chern and Scanlan were each 50% owners of Total Attorneys until approximately 2013. Chern and Scanlan also owned a credit counseling agency until they sold their interests in 2015.

11. In 2013, Chern and Scanlan developed a business plan that involved the creation of a technology platform to be promoted as a national law firm. Thereafter, Chern and Scanlan approached Allen about implementing the business plan. Chern and Scanlan contributed money to LSC, LSC’s operating agreement was amended to add Chern as a Class A member, Chern became the “managing partner” of LSC, Allen became the “president” of LSC, Scanlan became the “chief executive officer” of LSC., Justiva LLC (“Justiva”), Royce Marketing LLC (“Royce”), and Mighty Legal LLC (“ML”) were created with Chern, Scanlan, and Allen holding interests therein either directly or indirectly.
a. Justiva, Royce, and ML protect Scanlan’s investment into LSC and disguise his ownership interest in LSC;
i. Royce and ML are wholly owned subsidiaries of Justiva; and
ii. The operations of LSC are structured such that virtually all of its potential profits flow from it to Justiva via either Royce or ML;
A. LSC began doing business as “Upright Law” after Chern and Scanlan joined LSC;
B. The domain name www.uprightlaw.com is registered to Justiva and LSC pays licensing fees to Royce Marketing LLC for the use of the domain name;
C. Justiva trademarked “Upright Law” and LSC pays licensing fees to use the mark;
D. After Chern and Scanlan joined LSC, ML created client relationship management software for use in LSC that is integral to LSC’s “national firm” business model and LSC pays it seat license fees for the software;
E. LSC pays “agency fees” to ML for third party owned software such as Best Case which software is necessary to LSC’s operations;
F. LSC pays “agency fees” to Royce based on marketing costs to advertise as “Upright Law”;
G. LSC pays a factor of 1.1 times the actual payroll cost to ML for leased employees;
H. LSC pays a 20% percent fee to ML based on expensed items for ML performing services such as premises management, procuring leases, performing cash management services, and “a variety of other administrative services”.
b. After Scanlan and Chern joined LSC, Scanlan, Chern, and Allen began drawing approximately equal pay from LSC;
c. Scanlan owns 90% of an entity named “Ajax, LLC” (“Ajax”) and a family trust for the benefit of his family owns 10% of “Ajax”;
i. “Ajax” owns an approximately 30% membership interest in Justiva LLC;
d. Chern has an interest in Happy Times, LLC via a revocable trust that owns a 90% interest in it and a family trust that owns a 10% interest in it;
i. Happy Times, LLC owns approximately a 30% membership interest in Justiva LLC; and
e. Allen owns an approximately 14% membership interest in Justiva LLC.

General Summary Of LSC’s Marketing Business

15. LSC obtains prospective debtors primarily through one of two ways: When a prospective debtor reviews www.uprightlaw.com, the prospective debtor is asked to provide his or her contact information to learn if they qualify for bankruptcy relief. Thereafter, agents of LSC located in Chicago call the prospective debtor, ask questions about his or her financial situation, give the prospective debtor legal advice, offer and enter into a retention agreement with the prospective debtor, and take payment from the prospective debtor in connection with the retention agreement.

16. Alternatively, a prospective debtor can call LSC directly in which case the call is answered in Chicago and the agents of LSC ask questions about the prospective debtor’s financial situation, give the prospective debtor legal advice, offer and enter into retention agreements with the prospective debtor, and take payment from the prospective debtor in connection with the retention agreement.

17. LSC’s staff cannot “process a client” unless the prospective debtor is able to or willing to either make an immediate payment or schedule a payment to be electronically debited in the future.

18. The majority of the people with whom LSC enters into verbal retention agreements with (and who are provided written agreements to hire Upright) pay over time.

19. At all times relevant to these adversary proceedings, prospective debtors that communicate with agents of LSC are not placed into contact with a “partner attorney” licensed to practice law in Virginia until after the person has received legal advice from a senior client consultant, has paid money or set up a future payment, and has entered into a “verbal retention” agreement with the senior client consultant.

20. Only after LSC collects the full amount quoted does LSC “handoff” the debtor to a “partner” of Upright who is then expected to begin collecting documents from the debtor and prepare the documents necessary to prosecute a bankruptcy case.

21. Persons that enter into “verbal retention” agreements with LSC are told that if they miss a payment or try to change payments then the representation may be unilaterally terminated by LSC.

22. A large percentage of residents of the WDVA that have entered into “verbal retention” agreements with LSC have their file closed without a case being filed and LSC largely retains the money paid by the prospective debtors.

23. For clients whose file is not closed and a case is filed, LSC pays the “partner” a percentage of the fee received by LSC from the prospective debtor after the petition is filed and pays an additional percentage of the fee received after the discharge order is entered.

LSC Begins Marketing To Residents Of The Western District Of Virginia

24. In January 2014, Chern solicited Morgan to become a “partner” of LSC. Within 5 days of receiving a pitch email from Chern, Morgan signed a “Partnership Agreement” with LSC. Scanlan then “turned on” Virginia.
a. The “Partnership Agreement” provides that Morgan “has no right to participate in the management of [LSC]”;
b. When deposed, Morgan did not identify LSC as a firm in which he is a partner and did not know what it did.

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25. Although LSC was neither authorized to transact business in Virginia nor authorized to practice law in Virginia as a firm, by February 2014, LSC began accepting attorney fees from residents of the Western District of Virginia (“WDVA”).

26. On April 14, 2014, LSC domesticated in Virginia. Thereafter, it was authorized to transact business in Virginia, but was not authorized to practice law in Virginia as a firm;
a. Morgan signed a Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (ECF) System Full Participant Registration Form dated October 9, 2014, which lists his firm as “Upright Law LLC” and he tendered it to the Clerk. The Clerk issued Morgan a new CM/ECF username and password (the “Morgan Upright ECF Password”).
b. On October 29, 2014, the Morgan Upright ECF Password was used to file case number 14-51144 (In re Long).
c. On October 31, 2014, the Morgan Upright ECF Password was used to file case number 14-71520 (In re Duncan).
d. Overall, at least 9 cases, most under chapter 7 and at least 1 under chapter 13, have been filed in this court under the Upright ECF password issued to Morgan;

27. In December 2014, Chern solicited Delafield to become a “partner” of “Upright Law”. On December 3, 2014, Chern sent Delafield a pitch email and within 3 weeks, Delafield signed a “Partnership Agreement” with LSC;
a. The “Partnership Agreement” provides that Delafield “has no right to participate in the management of [LSC]”;
b. When deposed, Delafield did not identify LSC as a firm in which he was a partner and he did not know where LSC was located in Virginia, whether it was a debt relief agency, and did not know if LSC was a law firm.

28. On or about January 9, 2015 Upright Law LLC (“Upright”) filed articles of organization with the Virginia State Corporation Commission;
a. LSC is the sole member and manager of Upright;
b. Morgan signed a “Partnership Agreement” with Upright as did Delafield;
i. On or about January 20, 2015, Morgan signed a document bearing the heading “Partnership Agreement” which stated it was “made by and between Upright Law PLLC, a Virginia professional limited liability company doing business as UpRight Law LLC (“Firm”) and John C. Morgan (“Partner”, and, together with Firm, the “Attorneys”)”;
A. The “Partnership Agreement” provides that Morgan “has no right to participate in the management of [UpRight Law LLC]”;
B. The “Partnership Agreement” also imposes improper restrictions on Morgan’s ability to solicit clients ifi-if he disassociates;
C. Morgan does not advertise for Upright;
D. With respect to Upright, Morgan denies having the duties and responsibilities of a partner in a law firm;
E. Upright does not operate as a firm in that attorneys associated with it have no way to run proper conflicts checks;
F. Although designated a manager in documents filed with the VSB, Morgan does not know who reconciles Upright’s trust accounts.
G. Morgan does not refer clients to Upright;
ii. On or about January 22, 2015, Delafield signed a document bearing the heading “Partnership Agreement” which stated it was “made by and between Upright Law PLLC, a Virginia professional limited liability company doing business as UpRight Law LLC (“Firm”) and Darren Delafield (“Partner”, and, together with Firm, the “Attorneys”)”;
A. The “Partnership Agreement” provides that Delafield “has no right to participate in the management of [UpRight Law LLC]”;
B. The “Partnership Agreement” also imposes improper restrictions on Delafield’s ability to solicit clients if he disassociates;
C. Delafield does not advertise for Upright;
D. With respect to Upright, Delafield denies having the duties and responsibilities of a partner in a law firm;
E. Upright does not operate as a firm in that attorneys associated with it have no way to run proper conflicts checks;
F. Although designated a manager in documents filed with the VSB, Delafield does not know who reconciles Upright’s trust accounts;
G. Delafield does not refer clients to Upright;
iii. Upright does not have a written operating agreement.
c. Delafield signed a Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (ECF) System Full Participant Registration Form dated January 9, 2015, which lists his firm as “Upright Law LLC” and he tendered it to the Clerk. The Clerk issued Delafield a CM/ECF username and password which he used in connection with cases filed on behalf of clients that entered into engagement agreements with Upright (the “Delafield Upright ECF Password”). Prior to Upright obtaining a certificate of registration from the VSB on August 12, 2015, Delafield filed the following cases in this Court:
i. On January 10, 2015, the Delafield Upright ECF Password was used to file case number 15-60037 (In re McClenton). The Delafield Upright ECF Password was used to file two adversary proceedings associated with the McClenton case Case 16-07024 Doc 179 Filed 09/21/17 Entered 09/21/17 19:39:34 Desc Main on March 12, 2015 (15-06024, McClenton v. Asset Acceptance, LLC and 15-06025, McClenton v. Springleaf Financial Services);
ii. On January 30, 2015, the Delafield Upright ECF Password was used to file case number 15-70130 (In re Rubino);
iii. On February 27, 2015, the Delafield Upright ECF Password was used to file case number 15-70247 (In re Winners);
iv. On April 7, 2015, the Delafield Upright ECF Password was used to file case number 15-70470 (In re Epperson);
v. On April 27, 2015, the Delafield Upright ECF Password was used to file case number 15-70572 (In re McDaniel);
vi. On June 2, 2015, the Delafield Upright ECF Password was used to
file case number 15-50564 (In re Harvey);
vii. On July 29, 2015, the Delafield Upright ECF Password was used to file case numbers 15-61444 (In re Richerson), 15-61445 (In re Bass), and 15-71084 (In re Royall); and
d. More than 30 cases filed under chapter 7 and chapter 13 have been filed under the Upright ECF passwords issued to Delafield.

29. Virginia law requires companies to, at a minimum, provide members with access to certain records including, but not limited to, income tax returns for the three most recent years, a writing setting out the events of dissolution unless contained in the written operating agreement (to which the member would have access), and financial statements for the three most recent years (“Company Records”);
a. Neither Morgan nor Delafield have access to the majority of the Company Records for either LSC or Upright.

30. Through December 31, 2014, LSC collected not less than $X1 from residents of the Western District of Virginia.

31. From January 1, 2015, to August 12, 2015, when Upright received a certificate of registration from the Virginia State Bar, LSC collected an additional $X2 from residents of the Western District of Virginia.

32. On August 12, 2015, the Virginia State Bar received an application for a certificate of registration signed by Allen and dated January 9, 2015 (the “VSB Application”).

33. The VSB Application listed Morgan as both a member and as a manager of Upright;
a. Neither Morgan nor Delafield have acted as managers of Upright.

34. The VSB Application listed “Darren Deerfield” [sic] as both a member and as a manager of Upright.
a. Neither Morgan nor Delafield have acted as managers of Upright.

Upright is Going to Deny and Object to a Lot

I’m sure Upright Law is going to deny and object to a lot of the assertions made by the Trustees. These sorts of things just have to play out in court for a final determination.

But at the very least what I can offer is just some terms to use for Google searches so readers can make their own determinations.

“Allen Chern” “Legal Helpers”

“Jason Allen” “Legal Helpers”

“Lynn Coleman” “Legal Helpers”

“Edmund Scanlon” “Legal Helpers”

“Darren Delafield” “Legal Helpers”

About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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