Making the decision to pursue a bankruptcy ruling for your personal or business finances is an important decision. Finding the best attorney to represent you in this legal undertaking is a critical step to ensuring a smooth and successful outcome for your case. Bankruptcy is a specialized area of law, and an attorney who lacks the necessary experience and knowledge required to properly execute a bankruptcy filing can put your case and assets at risk.
Five Tips for Hiring the Right Bankruptcy Attorney
Finding the right bankruptcy attorney can be a simple task if you understand what qualities you need. The following tips are intended as a guide to researching and interviewing potential attorneys.
- Look for an attorney who lists or advertises himself or herself as a bankruptcy attorney: You want to be confident that the attorney you hire spends a good deal of time practicing bankruptcy law, even if it is not a sole specialty.
- Ask how many years the attorney has been working with bankruptcy cases and ask how many cases both s/he and his/her team handle each year. Attorneys who truly specialize in bankruptcy will often list their firms under this specialty on legal help websites or yellow pages listings or will openly advertise their bankruptcy services to the public.
- If you are in a position to ask family members, friends or associates for recommendations, this is a good approach as well.
- Find an attorney who is local to your area: You will need the attorney to understand the laws and rules of your local district court as they pertain to bankruptcy filings. The attorney should also be familiar with bankruptcy trustees in your area. Trustees are also bound by district regulations and mandates and a knowledgeable attorney will understand the nuances of the locale where you will be filing your case.
- Consider the complexity of your case and match it with an attorney who meets your criteria: Not all bankruptcy cases are created equal. In simple Chapter 7 cases, you may not need to invest in a seasoned bankruptcy lawyer who will charge you top dollar because your case is simple and straightforward. A less experienced bankruptcy lawyer might suit your needs and your budget in such a case.
- However, if you have a complex Chapter 13 bankruptcy that involves multiple assets you need to protect or business concerns that are involved, you may wish to consult an attorney who has years of success in completing Chapter 13 filings.
- Pay attention to communication style and response time: You want to be sure that you will receive the attention that you deserve when working through the process of filing your bankruptcy. There are several steps and lots of paperwork involved in bankruptcy cases and you will need to communicate regularly with your attorney. If you find that the response time is slow during the interview and consultation phases, you may experience similar issues while trying to complete your bankruptcy.
- Fees, fees, fees: If you are considering a bankruptcy it is likely that your funds are somewhat limited. Expensive attorney fees may seem like another unsurmountable bill that will surely sink your ship. However, finding the right attorney is important to your financial future. Keep in mind that the more complicated your case, the more expensive your attorney fees are likely to be.
- Be wary of attorney fees that seem to be much lower than others. It could be a sign that the attorney is inexperienced or has overlooked important details of your case. Be sure to ask questions while discussing fees with any potential attorneys. Many firms will not file your paperwork until you are paid in full for Chapter 7 cases, and in Chapter 13 cases, you are often required to pay a portion of the fees up front and the remainder of the fees as part of your bankruptcy repayment plan.
Consult Warren & Migliaccio
Warren & Migliaccio specialize in bankruptcy law. Call us to review your case. Call 888-584-9614 to schedule a free consultation.