If you or your company is no longer able to pay debts and your financial situation has taken the worse, the best way to go may be to file for bankruptcy. This means you would need to find a competent and reliable attorney to represent and help you all throughout the process. That way, you can still protect your assets and can get you back on track as soon as possible.
How do you find or hire a bankruptcy lawyer?
Your lawyer is going to be your partner as you try to get yourself out of the big financial hole. It’s, therefore, necessary that you find the right bankruptcy attorney who can handle your financial needs.
For this, take your time and avoid the pitfall of picking just any name out of the phonebook or choosing any attorney with the lowest advertising fee.
Here are some of the things you can do:
You can ask your friends or colleagues for some suggestions or recommendations.
You may ask some attorneys you know if they can recommend a good bankruptcy lawyer.
If you’re privileged to have worked for a large company, check if your employer offers a group legal plan for their employees.
You can inquire with your American Bar Association’s local chapter.
If you have little income or are unemployed, look for a nonprofit organization that offers legal services.
Check for expertise
Once you have with you the short list of bankruptcy lawyers to choose from, it would be the best time to start setting up some consultations to discuss your financial status and bankruptcy case. Often, lawyers do not charge for the initial consultation and they answer the most basic questions for free.
The two things you can ask your bankruptcy attorney are:
- his years of experience handling bankruptcy cases
- the number of bankruptcy cases he has handled
In addition, it would help if you attorney is a member of a law organization. Often, these lawyers have undergone a more advanced training in their specialty. You can also ask how many cases he’s handling every month. If he has over 20 cases, he might not have enough time to spend on your bankruptcy case.
Ask how much his service costs
As mentioned, the price shouldn’t be a huge basis when choosing an attorney. This doesn’t mean though that you’ll always go for an expensive lawyer. Worse, you shouldn’t take the risk of going for a cheap lawyer who’s inexperienced.
The lawyer you choose should be upfront and transparent about his fees. In Chapter 13 cases, the district court can set limits to the bankruptcy attorney’s charges. In Chapter 7 cases, however, bankruptcies are not controlled or regulated by the court.
Do take note though that you will be asked to pay your lawyer’s fees in full before you can file your case.
A more compatible personality
Your attorney should be someone you’re very comfortable working with. In times of stress, your lawyer should be someone who can at least help you relieve your anxiety by assuring you that you’re getting the best help possible. If you feel you both don’t have the right chemistry from the start, then move on to your next choice.