If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, it’s important to understand the process and know your options. This includes hiring a bankruptcy lawyer. Here are six tips to help you hire the right bankruptcy lawyer for your case.
Determine which type of bankruptcy attorney is appropriate for your situation.
There are three types of bankruptcy attorneys: generalists, specialists, and transactional lawyers. Generalists handle all types of bankruptcies. Specialists focus on one area, such as small businesses chapter 11 reorganizations or stopping foreclosures. Transactional lawyers help with the paperwork and negotiations surrounding your financial situation and determining a repayment plan in Chapter 13 case, but don’t litigate adversary proceedings in the bankruptcy court.
Find an attorney with vast experience filing bankruptcy cases and who will offer a free consultations. It’s important to hire an attorney who has experience handling cases like yours. Ask about the attorney’s success rate and how many cases they’ve handled that are similar to yours.
Although you can certainly use the internet and Google to find a debt relief lawyer, when facing overwhelming debt, you don’t want to just contact the first law firm that pops up, but rather you want the best attorney for your legal representation. It can help to get a referral from someone you trust. If you know someone who’s gone through bankruptcy or sought legal advice due to financial difficulties, ask them for a referral to their consumer bankruptcy attorney. You can also ask your state bar association for referrals to bankruptcy attorneys in your area
Make a list of bankruptcy lawyers in your region.
The first step in the process of locating consumer bankruptcy attorneys is to make a list of those offering a free evaluation. A licensed attorney, whether a generalist or specialist, can represent you in bankruptcy court.
Some people hire what’s called a “bankruptcy mill,” which is a law firm that churns through a large volume of cases without providing individualized attention to each client. If you’re considering using one of these firms, make sure to ask how many cases the attorney will be handling at the same time as yours and what kind of support staff they have in place to help them manage their caseload.
You should also inquire about the average length of time these firms take to complete a bankruptcy case from start to finish. In some instances, debtors have had to wait months or even years for their case to be resolved. Finally, make sure you understand what legal fees you will be facing and if they provide for monthly payments, or if your case can be filed prior to paying in full.
Narrow down the choices by conducting your homework.
Once you have a list of potential consumer bankruptcy lawyers, it’s time to conduct your homework and narrow down the choices.
First, check to see if any of the attorneys on your list have been disciplined by the state bar association or had any complaints filed against them with the Better Business Bureau. If so, that should be a red flag and you should move on to another attorney.
Second, contact each of the firms on your list and set up an initial consultation. Most reputable bankruptcy attorneys will offer a free initial consultation, but some may charge a nominal fee. During this consultation, be sure to ask about their experience handling cases like yours, what type of legal fees they charge, and how long they believe it will take to resolve your case.
Take advantage of an initial consultation & learn bankruptcy law.
Finally, trust your gut. If you don’t feel comfortable with an attorney, move on to someone else. Hiring a bankruptcy attorney is a very personal decision and you need to make sure you’re working with someone you can trust.
Make an informed final choice to hire a bankruptcy attorney
Once you’ve consulted with a few different consumer bankruptcy lawyers, it’s time to make a final informed decision and hire the one you feel is best suited to represent you. Remember, this is a very important decision, and you need to make sure you’re comfortable with the attorney you hire.
Work as a team with your new bankruptcy lawyer to ensure a successful outcome.
Now that you’ve hired a consumer bankruptcy attorney, it’s important to work together as a team to ensure a successful outcome. Be honest with your attorney about all of your debts and valuable assets, and make sure you provide any documentation they request in a timely manner. Doing so will help them build the strongest possible case on your behalf.
If you have any questions or concerns along the way, be sure to bring them to your attorney’s attention so they can address them and put your mind at ease.
With the right bankruptcy attorney by your side, you can get through this difficult time and make a fresh start financially.