7 Things to Consider When Looking For a Bankruptcy Attorney
Because filing for bankruptcy is such a traumatic and life-changing decision, it’s very important that you choose the right bankruptcy attorney to help you through this difficult time. How do you know which one to pick though? Well, here are the top 7 things you should keep in mind when searching for your financial guru.
1. Get a jump start on the process
It’s not uncommon for people to be in denial about their financial problems
for long periods of time. Sometimes they realize their is a problem, but they somehow think it will get better. Talk things over with trusted family and friends, and if you think the siuation warrants it, immediately begin searching for a bankruptcy attorney. Remember, waiting too long to see a bankrupcty attorney, can lead to increases in debt, and it may be difficult for even the most skilled attorney to make the best out of your situation.
2. Assess costs
In addition to the normal rate, It is not unusual for an attorney to charge an extra fee if a creditor decides to challenge your discharge. Ask specifically how this would be handled in your case if such a situation arises. If you and your attorney decide to file Chapter 13, some or all of the attorney fees may be paid as part of your repayment plan. This may have the effect of having your creditors pay your attorney from funds you would otherwise pay to them. With all of this said though, it’s important to remember that the most cost effective attorney isn’t always the best.
3. Try not to rely on referrals from friends
Your financial situation is unique, and chances are you’re not going through the same situation as your friend went through. Bankruptcy is a highly specialized, complex area of the law. Seek out an attorney that seems right for YOUR situation.
4. Seek out signs of specialization
As stated eariler, bankruptcy is a complicated and extended area of law. While some people have problems related to mortgages, others have difficulty with taxes and their car. Look for bankruptcy attorneys that specialize in the area of your finances where you’re experiencing the most difficulty. If you come across a firm that says something like “we do it all,” be skepitical about this, and ask them to show some proof of their specialization in all areas. Who knows, they might very well be the best around.
5. Look for a Listener
Since bankruptcy is a personal, sometimes embarrassing matter, you need to find an attorney with good “tableside manner,” if you will. You need to find someone who really cares about your story and wants to help you
. Not someone who merely sees you as a case number. If your attorney starts rattling off opinions before they’ve listened to you, don’t go with them!
6. Look for Signs of Organization
When you visit a bankruptcy attorney for the first time, usually for a consultation, check out the organization of the office. Does the atmosphere feel to be one of chaos, or does the office appear to run efficiently? When in the waiting room, is the phone answered and is the person answering the phone pleasant? If an attorney’s office gives the appearance of profound pandemonium, it may be a sign that the office is too busy to handle your situation and give you the attention you deserve.
7. Find out what professional organizations they belong to
While it is true that attorneys can be part of many associations just by paying their dues, look for a bankrupcy attorney that is heavily attractive in a professional organization
. This show their willingness to keep up with current developments and trends in the law, and thus, they will be better equip to serve you.