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How to Find a Good Bankruptcy Lawyer

How to Find a Good Bankruptcy Lawyer

Don’t Settle for Just Anyone!

Filing for bankruptcy is a major financial decision. Doing it correctly with a minimum of complications or issues is always welcome since you want the process to go smoothly.

Finding the right bankruptcy lawyer for your particular case is vital. You want someone with experience and who will answer all your questions as well as maintain a good rapport and accessibility.

Complexity of Your Case

Many debtors have relatively simple cases. If your main debts are credit card balances and you have few assets, then your case will be simple to handle. In cases like this, you probably have little need for a high-priced bankruptcy lawyer who may charge you $1,000 or more, while another attorney could have capably handled it for half those fees.

 If your case involves a business or corporation, then you may well need a more experienced and costlier attorney who has handled numerous complex cases like yours and can smooth out any complications and adequately advise you. These are generally Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 cases and are typically much more complex than a consumer Chapter 7 case.

Referrals

The ideal way to locate a good bankruptcy attorney is from other legal professionals. Many attorneys are aware of other attorneys and their skills, even if they practice in an entirely different area of law. If you have a CPA or financial advisor, ask him or her for a referral since CPAs often work with bankruptcy attorneys, or against them, in Chapter 11 filings or in adversary proceedings in bankruptcy court.

Bar Association

Another good source is a referral from your county bar association. You can call them or go online to find a list of bankruptcy lawyers approved by the bar who can handle your case. You may be able to find a lawyer who charges low fees or find one who can handle your case at no cost.

Online

Going online will always bring up a comprehensive list of bankruptcy practitioners, although you will not know much about their skills. Avoid any firms that charge bargain basement fees like $190 to file your case. Many of these firms are high volume with little time or expertise in answering more complicated questions, and they will usually not appear with you at your Creditor’s Meeting. Also, if mistakes are made or there are complications, you will be charged more fees. Their accessibility may be limited as well.

If you do choose to find an attorney online, you can check their status online with the state bar association. You can also look them up on a legal directory such as Martindale-Hubbell for credentials, legal and other education, certifications if applicable, and employment history.

Once you have selected a firm or two, contact them for a free consultation. You will be asked to bring along some documents so they can assess the complexity of your case, so be prepared to do this.

At the office, ask questions about your property and what can be exempt and which may not. Your responses are confidential so do not hide anything or give cryptic responses. Find out what the attorney will do and what his or her fees will include. Ask to look at a Fee Agreement and ask questions regarding what it encompasses.

In a Chapter 7 corporate filing, or a Chapter 11, find out the attorney’s credentials and experience in this area and how many cases he or she has handled. Inquire about possible complications, increased fees, retention of financial professionals to assist with your case if needed, and how your business can continue to operate if that is your desire.

If the attorney seems sincere and professional and the fees seem reasonable, you may have found the attorney for your case.

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