Bankruptcy Lawyer, Making the Right Choice

Bankruptcy is an emotionally wrenching process to have to go through and will only be compounded if the attorney you choose isn’t the right fit. The last thing you want to do is make a difficult situation worse by choosing the wrong attorney to handle your case. Choosing the right attorney isn’t much different than choosing a surgeon.  After all, this is your life we’re talking about and it’s not a decision that should be made lightly.

Interview Several Attorneys

First and foremost, do not simply call the first attorney you find online or in the phonebook (does anyone still use those?). If you feel comfortable doing so, ask some of your close friends, family or personal advisors if they know any good bankruptcy lawyers personally–personally being the key word.

It’s understandable you may not want to this, but the assumption is that the people you would ask are going to be individuals who are concerned for your welfare.

A respectable bankruptcy lawyer will take the time to understand your situation and look for alternative solutions that may or may not include an actual bankruptcy. Also, the attorney should clearly outline the differences between a Chapter 13 and a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, making the appropriate suggestion as it relates to you.

Get Referrals

All states have referral services that maintain lists of attorneys based on their area of law. Some referral services are run by the state Bar Association, while others are private, so research the service itself. Some do charge a fee, but a good referral service will help you select attorneys based on your specific criteria, cutting down on the time and frustration.

Draw up a list of names and set an appointment with each attorney. Before your appointment however, be very clear about your own situation, what you hope to achieve, as well as having a list of questions ready for the lawyer.

Remember, you pay the bills and this initial meeting is for you to decide whether or not to hire this person, not to see if they will accept your case.

Trust Your Instincts

Take your time and trust your instincts. Does the attorney listen? Is he or she asking questions? Are they OK explaining to you each step of the process?

Of course, your questions should be clear, to the point and specific. Do not be afraid to ask the attorney how long he or she has been practicing, how long they have specialized in bankruptcies, what their fee’s are and so on. If they balk or brush off any of your inquiries, you can simply thank them and leave.

Know Who Will Actually Be Handing Your Case

Some bankruptcy firms are large machines, with paralegals and assistants handling most of the work.  This type of firm may be less expensive, but the service you will get will likely reflect the lower pricing.

Do not be afraid to clarify this point with the bankruptcy attorney.

Make Sure the Lawyer Has Your Back

Remember, you are hiring someone to be your advocate, protector, champion and guardian as you maneuver through our complex and confusing legal system. How your attorney communicates with you is the single most important aspect of the relationship.

Your attorney should have clear cut instructions, practices and systems in place for your use. These might be scripts on exactly what to say if a creditor contacts you once bankruptcy proceedings have been initiated, a step by step guide explaining each phase of the bankruptcy and your roles and responsibilities in each; and, last but not least, what you should do if you have questions or need to contact the lawyer handling your case.

On December 19th, 2012, posted in: Bankruptcy by

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