Law Offices of Michele M Poteracke

Firm Overview

The office focuses on obtaining debt relief for our clients through bankruptcy - mostly chapters 7 and 13 - or through out-of-bankruptcy work-outs with creditors. We also do a limited number of family law and civil contract litigation out of the Santa Rosa office.

Example cases

In a chapter 12, family farm case, forced the senior lienholder on the debtor's crop to move to second position to enable additional funding from a new lender.

In multiple chapter 13 cases since the downturn in housing values, taken action to "strip" second and third mortgages from debtors' residences.

In a case where bankruptcy was inadvisable, but where client had large unsecured debt, was able to negotiate and settle his multiple credit card accounts with pay off averaging 25% of principal.

In multiple chapter 7 cases, have negotiated favorable terms to permit the debtor to retain collateral secured by a loan through reaffirmation agreements approved by the court.

Was able to remove multiple judicial liens from a client's home to make way and create equity that he was able to exempt and keep upon the court approved sale of his house.

Successfully defended at trial in the bankruptcy court, a chapter 7 client accused of fraud in a real estate transaction.

In state court, successfully brought a complaint for damages against a creditor bank for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, for unlawful reporting to the credit reporting agencies.

Main Office
550 Webster Street
Suite 3
Fairfield  CA  94533
  • (707) 571-1109
  • (707) 540-6287


Free Initial Consultation?
Yes; bankruptcy consultations are free and usually last 30-45 minutes.
Services Offered For Fixed Fees?
Chapter 7 bankruptcies are usually done on a flat rate basis. Rates are reasonable, but vary from case to case depending on factors like complexity and anticipated problems.
Hourly Rates

Office Information

Office Hours
Office hours are generally 9 to 6 Monday through Thursday and 9 to noon on Friday. However, the attorney's time is divided between the Fairfield and Santa Rosa offices based on appointments and court appearances in each area. Therefore, call in advance to see the attorney.
Office Manager
Part time assistant is Katya Mercurio.
Emergency After Hours
Languages Spoken
Only by advance appointment.

Other Offices

Other Office
850 3rd Street
Santa Rosa,  CA  95404

Is your firm willing to help a client with one discrete part of a case, without taking on the whole case?

Yes, with the caveat that this is more easily handled in certain types of cases, like family law, where limited scope representation is common.

What are your policies about dividing work within the firm to make the process most cost-effective for the client?

This is a solo practice with one attorney. However, or billing practices are such that clients are usually quite happy with how and how much they are billed.

How frequently does your firm use mediation, arbitration, or collaborative law to resolve cases?

We rarely need formal mediation or arbitration but are able to resolve many issues and entire cases through an informal meet-and-confer process with opposing attorneys, including having all attorneys and clients present for a one-on-one conference intended to save everyone time and money. Few cases actually end up with trial as the overwhelming majority settle in advance of trial.

Does your firm provide pro bono legal services or otherwise participate in your community?

At this time, the office is not able to provide pro bono services.

What distinguishes your law firm from others?

The attorney knows each client by face and name, answers their questions and in fact, welcomes questions. We worry sometimes that we provide too much education, too much information to our clients and may overwhelm them with information. We believe that the legal case that is presented to us remains the client's case, the client's responsibility (to make decisions when choices are necessary) and we will not patronize or diminish the client's role in their own case. On the other hand, we do not rubber stamp a position taken by a client which is not supported by law. We educate our clients in the law, their rights AND their obligations.

What is your firm's point of view regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?

Education is key t any type of legal action. If the client is not able to educate themselves, or has picked up some inaccurate beliefs based on what they've read or heard, he/she will get lots of information from our office. We believe that our clients need to know the law, know their rights AND their obligations.

Is your firm willing to review documents prepared by clients?

Yes, but only on a consultation basis. A fee for time is charged for this type of consultation, and the attorney does not become attorney of record.

Is your firm willing to coach clients who want to represent themselves?

Unfortunately, ongoing coaching is time and cost prohibitive as the attorney does not have the control over the case or documents filed.

Michele Poteracke

The office was opened in Fairfield, CA in 1993 and expanded to an office in Santa Rosa, CA in 2008.

This is a solo practice with one attorney. However, or billing practices are such that clients are usually quite happy with how and how much they are billed.

  • Bar Number: 143207
    California , 1989

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