Monday, January 5, 2009

Paralegal Turns Bankruptcy Into Cottage Industry

Victoria Ring sits atop the virtual bankruptcy world.

For many years, she worked as a paralegal for various local attorneys, eventually landing with several prominent bankruptcy lawyers in Central Ohio. It was during this time Ring realized she could input a debtor’s data into a bankruptcy petition from anywhere in the United States, freeing her from the constant interruptions she endured when working in a law office and letting her work for attorneys outside Columbus and Central Ohio.

When word began spreading about what she was doing, other lawyers sought her out. Ring was soon preparing those labor and data-intensive bankruptcy documents for 56 attorneys from across the U.S.

In 1988, Victoria Ring developed LLC, which includes a website to teach attorneys, paralegals, and virtual assistants how to prepare bankruptcy petitions over the Internet. Bankruptcy Court rules dictate that all documents must be filed electronically, and educating people about how to accurately enter data into those forms made sense, said Ring.

She coined the job title Virtual Bankruptcy Assistant. To guide candidates wishing to become bankruptcy assistants, Ring penned five books, 10 electronic books and 15 training videos while also founding the National Association of Virtual Bankruptcy Assistants.

The materials were a success, she said, and when some bankruptcy assistants told her they wanted a way to promote themselves as certified professionals, Ring, 51, created a curriculum and a certification exam.

She recently expanded her endeavor by establishing LLC, a business providing technical support and training to debtor attorneys.

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