Hiring a Bankruptcy Attorney

How to Avoid Hiring a Bad Bankruptcy Attorney

Too many people needing bankruptcy help simply pick a name out of the phone book or Google search. There are just as many bad attorneys out there as there are bad doctors, bad cashiers, bad mechanics, etc.

For many firms, handling bankruptcy filings is a volume business (just like Wal-Mart). They need lots of cases coming through the doors to help pay for all their overhead expenses. Often, that leaves you with young staff attorneys and legal assistants who are overworked and find it hard to attend to the details of all their cases.

Often referred to as “Bankruptcy Mills”, too often that leaves many individuals facing serious financial difficulties with legal services that are inferior to what they expect or need. Nobody wants an incompetent attorney, especially when contemplating bankruptcy, which is a major life decision.

Here are some tips to try and help you make a more informed decision:

Hire a bankruptcy attorney, not a jack-of-all-trades. Bankruptcy can be a very complicated process. Attorneys who don’t primarily practice bankruptcy law aren’t going to know details about doing a bankruptcy (are there are a lot of them).

Don’t procrastinate. The longer you wait the more likely it will cause substantial increases in the complexity and cost of your bankruptcy, as well as increasing the risk of lawsuits, garnishments, etc. It will always be better to be pro-active in planning your filing, then reactive. It is much harder to afford a bankruptcy filing if you are losing 25% of your pay to a garnishment.
Ask questions!
• What experience does the attorney who actually works on your case have?
• Who will be primarily working on my case, an attorney or an assistant?
• Do they offer a Risk Free Initial Consultation with an attorney?
• How much are ALL the Attorney Fees?
• What kinds of services would require “extra” fees?
• How much is the Court’s Filing Fee?
• Is the attorney adding extra fees on to what the attorney is being charged by the Credit Counseling Company? (This should only cost $10-$15)
• Is the attorney adding in the cost of giving you a “free” credit report into your fee somehow? They are running a business, so trust me, you are paying for that “free” credit report if they get it instead of you getting it.

Don’t feel pressured into hiring an attorney you don’t feel comfortable with. This is a professional you will need to trust and be able to work with. If you are uncomfortable, keep looking.

Beware of petition preparers! They are cheap, but are not attorneys. Once again, you will get what you pay for.
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