The choice to file for bankruptcy is one that is rarely taken lightly. Most debtors explore all their options and give plenty of thought to the decisions prior to filing, yet surprisingly few of them spend an equal amount of time looking into bankruptcy law firms.
Don’t just choose the first lawyer with an advertisement on a local bus stop bench. Instead, read through the following tips and use them to find the right law firm.
There are a few easy ways to tell if a lawyer or law firm is actually as experienced in the practice of bankruptcy law as they would like to claim. First, check with the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. Next, check for certifications on the state bar’s website.
Becoming a member of the organization noted above and getting certified requires dedication and experience. It means that the lawyer in question focuses on bankruptcy cases at least half of the time, has passed written exams on bankruptcy law, and has been peer-reviewed for acceptance.
Take Advantage of Free Consultations
Many lawyers offer free consultations, so it’s a good idea to schedule appointments with at least a few of them. Don’t just ask about pricing, though. Focus on how much experience these lawyers have representing similar clients and be sure to write down any questions prior to the consultation.
Keep in mind that clients should feel comfortable speaking with their lawyers and should always feel they are being offered sincere legal advice that is in their best interest. Qualified lawyers will almost always suggest alternate resolutions and will be willing to listen to their clients’ concerns and answer any questions they may have. Personality matters, too, since debtors will be working with their lawyers throughout the filing process, so readers should choose one who makes them feel comfortable and confident.
The cost of hiring a bankruptcy lawyer can vary significantly depending on the client’s case and his or her location. It’s a bad idea to assume that hiring the most expensive lawyer will ensure the best results, but similarly, it’s also wise to avoid ultra-low-rate firms. These firms often rely on a large number of legal assistants rather than actual lawyers, which can leave clients in the lurch if their cases are particularly complex.