How to choose a bankruptcy lawyer

Caucasian lawyer in courtIf you’re looking for a lawyer, it likely means that you’re struggling with a challenging situation. Choosing a lawyer can be a difficult thing to navigate during what is likely already a difficult time. How can you find a lawyer who is right for you? Where do you start? Here’s what to know about your law representation search.

What is a bankruptcy attorney?

Law is a field of specialization. Attorneys choose a focus, from criminal law to business law to contract law to constitutional law and many more. Lawyers who specialize in bankruptcy focus on assisting clients in eliminating or reducing overwhelming debt and are able to represent everyone from individuals facing foreclosure to businesses needing to liquidate assets. What should you look for when trying to find the right lawyer for your bankruptcy filing?

  1. Do your research: You don’t want to hire the first lawyer who pops up in a Google search. While an internet search is a good first step, you can also ask people in your network if they have recommendations. Most lawyers will offer a free consultation that allows you to explain some of the details of your situation and gives you the opportunity to get to know them and their experience. Some questions to consider asking are:
  • How long have they been in practice? More years of experience can often translate to better representation.
  • What is their track record of success? You want to know the likelihood of success in handling your case.
  • How much of their caseload is dedicated to handling your type of legal problem? Bankruptcy lawyers will often be qualified to handle many other legal matters but should have a bulk of their experience in handling bankruptcy cases.
  • What are their fees and how are they structured? What additional costs may be involved in addition to lawyer fees, such as filing fees or other administrative tasks?
  • When you’re filing for bankruptcy, it’s more important than ever to understand how you’ll be charged and what those fees will cover. Fees will vary based on complexity of your case and location, but most attorneys will be able to give you an estimate or average and you certainly don’t want to be surprised with any surprise charges down the line. You want to make sure you’re comfortable with their fee structure, that’s it’s within your budget, and that it’s competitive with other capable law firms.
  • How often will you be billed? This is also an important cost consideration.
  • Can they provide references from other clients? Hearing from other people like yourself in similar situations can help you understand what to expect.
  • How will they inform you of developments in your case? Communication is key, and you never want to work with anyone who’s going to leave you anxious and wondering.
  1. Hire a lawyer, not a law firm: It’s easy to get caught up in hiring a popular firm or trust a law office name that you’ve heard on commercials or seen on billboards. While some of these things can certainly help indicate the success of a firm, it shouldn’t be the primary selling point. Bankruptcy can feel intensely stressful and personal, so you want to hire a lawyer you’re comfortable communicating with and able to build a professional relationship with. Whenever possible, speak directly to the lawyer who would be handling your case to assess their confidence and manners before making a decision.
  2. Make sure they have the credentials: You can typically verify a lawyer is a member of the state bar by going to the bar association website. But do they have any additional certifications or education? Do they belong to any professional organizations?

Finding your lawyer may take a bit of time, but it’s an investment worth making. You want to ensure the best resolution possible to help secure financial freedom and a future for yourself. Finding an attorney who is professional and personable is the first step in that direction. After interviewing several attorneys, ask yourself if they seem knowledgeable and trustworthy. Did they present you with several options and ideas, or treat you like a cookie cutter case? Once you’ve narrowed it down and feel comfortable moving forward, call references or check reviews before hiring anyone.

Having a lawyer for your bankruptcy is more than just a good idea – it can be crucial to not just a fair and successful result, but also to your personal wellbeing. Bankruptcy filings are stressful and complicated and you shouldn’t have to navigate that experience without professional, compassionate representation. Call us today for your free consultation – we’re here to provide years of excellence and experience, to answer all your questions, and to help find out if we’re the right fit to help you navigate the bankruptcy process.

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