When all else fails, when you have tried a debt consolidation company and they are not able to help, and when your financial state is too dire to solve, the only solution is to file bankruptcy. However, filing bankruptcy is not such an easy procedure. One of the main problems of filing bankruptcy is getting the right lawyer!
If there is anything worse than filing for bankruptcy, it’s having to do so and then hiring the wrong attorney for the job. For many lawyers, bankruptcy filings have become a volume business, and debtors facing bankruptcy sometimes unfortunately obtain inferior legal services. For this reason, you’ll need to do some research before hiring a bankruptcy lawyer.
Top 6 Tips on Getting a Bankruptcy Lawyer
Here are 6 tips to help you find the best attorney to handle your bankruptcy filing. Remember, do not just get any lawyer, the lawyer you get must be a lawyer specializing in bankruptcy.
1. Do not procrastinate. The idea of hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is daunting by itself, but the more you procrastinate, the worse the situations will become. Do not let this prevent you from beginning your investigation for a good lawyer as soon as you know you’re going to need one. Waiting until the last moment won’t give a good attorney enough time to adequately prepare your case.
2. Seek the advice of other legal professionals. Ask yourself which business acquaintances you know, who might in turn know a good bankruptcy lawyer. If you have a personal attorney, that’s a good place to start. Understand, however, that bankruptcy law is a specialty. If your lawyer offers to handle the case as part of your usual retainer, be certain he knows his way around bankruptcy court.
3. Spend a day at bankruptcy court. Observing bankruptcy attorneys in action might give you an idea of the type of lawyer you want representing you. At the court you can also find out which local attorneys specialize in this form of law.
4. Do not hire the cheapest lawyer. Obviously, in this circumstance you do not have a lot of cash to spare. But like most things in life, you get what you pay for. You want a lawyer who knows the system, and who will do the best job of representing you. That may end up costing a little more. Your local bar association can probably help you determine whether a proposed fee is fair and in line with local standards. Anybody who charges too much or too little probably shouldn’t be your lawyer of choice.
5. Visit law offices. An office appraisal can give you vital clues as to how a lawyer would handle your case. Look around the office and see how well organized it is. Is it neat, or are there coffee-stained folders strewn about the floor? You wouldn’t go to a doctor with a dirty examining room; do not hire a lawyer with a disorganized office.
6. Ask lots of questions. Once you have some candidates in mind, ask them the following questions (The answers to each of these questions are critical, so if you get evasive answers, it’s probably a red flag that this is not the firm for you):
What certifications do you have?
How many bankruptcies have you handled?
How many do you handle in a month or year?
Of those, how many are business filings?
How much access will I have to you during my filing?
If I’m not working directly with you, who will I be working with?
Can I interview the person with whom I would be working?
What time frame do you have for this bankruptcy?
How will the procedure work?
Remember, it is very critical that you get the right lawyer for the job. You have to be comfortable with the lawyer and the lawyer has to be convincing to you as well. How else can the lawyer help you if you are not comfortable with him? Choose wisely, do not rush into a decision, run through the six steps above again and again until you are certain you have the right lawyer!