Malcolm Ruthven, Esq.

Bankruptcy attorney serving Marin, Sonoma & SF counties

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Firm Overview

I established Malcolm Ruthven, Esq. in early 2009 after seeing the need for a counseling type of bankruptcy practice instead of the too-frequent "fill out the forms" approach that leaves clients unsatisfied and also in danger of missing opportunities for retaining assets.

I guide people in financial difficulty through the technically difficult and emotionally charged arena of bankruptcy which allows them a fresh start provided by Congress.

Example cases

A recent case was also a typical one, in which a person found herself with one overwhelming debt plus large credit card debt and no job! She had changed her living situation to accommodate the lack of a job, but simply couldn't make the payments on her debts. After thorough and careful preparation, she went through the meeting with the bankruptcy trustee in less than five minutes and is on her way to a fresh start.

Main Office

4040 Civic Center Drive
Suite 200
San Rafael  CA  94903

  • (415) 342-4666
  • (415) 869-6645


Free Initial Consultation?

I provide free initial consultation, usually starting via email, followed by an initial questionnaire, and then a free telephone consultation for which I tell the client to schedule an hour (it may take less time). During that process, I learn enough to have a very good start on the matter and also to quote a fixed fee.

Services Offered For Fixed Fees?

After free email and/or telephone consultations, I provide a fixed fee for a bankruptcy based on its complexity.

Hourly Rates

My hourly rate for matters outside the scope of the fixed fee is $350.

Office Information

Office Hours

Monday through Friday
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

I am available by telephone and email after hours.

Emergency After Hours


Other Offices

  • San Francisco
    Also offices in Downtown
    San Francisco,  CA 
  • Petaluma Office
    755 Baywood Drive 2nd Floor
    Petaluma,  CA  94954

How did your firm decide on the primary area of practice(s)?

I too have had the experience of seeing my field of work (then computer application software development) shrink before my very eyes with the projects I used to get being sent overseas. People in the current economy have similar experiences and I was determined to find a way to use my legal background to help them. I decided that practicing bankruptcy law was the most direct way I could help.

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

I encourage clients to learn as much as possible about the bankruptcy process, and to that end I have posted on my website Bankruptcy Basics videos as well as numerous articles relating to bankruptcy. In addition, my standard bankruptcy presentation for Legal Aid of Marin is two hours long which gives time to go into much detail about the process and considerations of bankruptcy. I help my clients fully participate in the process of their bankruptcy.

Is your firm willing to review documents prepared by clients?

An integral part of the bankruptcy process for my clients is for them to prepare documents for me to review.

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

I find that the bankruptcy process is difficult enough that people who try to represent themselves, even with assistance, often get a less-than-satisfactory result and are quite frustrated during the process. Therefore I don't do that. I provide professional legal representation to ensure that clients receive the best result possible in this very important step in their lives.

Malcolm Ruthven

Why limit yourself to one career? I've been a general-civil-practice attorney, computer application software developer, blue-ribbon-winning artist, and now once again an attorney, this time leading people in financial difficulty to a fresh start.

I've worked closely with a large variety of businesses and people during my prior life as a computer application software developer, always needing to understand their way of doing things and their point of view. I've also seen my income dry up for no reason of my own (see the next question) and had to deal with that. All of the above brings me to my counseling approach to the practice of bankruptcy law in which filling out the forms is only an incidental (although important) part of the process.

I ask questions that need to be asked and listen well. I stay aware of the concerns and apprehensions of my clients and lead them through a difficult process.

Personal interests:

I'm an ex-ski bum who only skis cross-country now, a pilot, artist (silkscreen/serigraph) and photographer. I still enjoy and appreciate this wonderful place where we live; I never tire of the beauty of it.

  • Bar Number: 44333
    California , 1969
  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law
    Juris Doctor , 1968
    San Francisco, CA
  • University of Missouri
    Bachelor of Science , 1965
    Columbia, MO

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