Filing for bankruptcy can be an intimidating experience, but working with a great attorney can make everything just a bit easier. Bankruptcy attorneys aren’t “one size fits all,” so if you are considering using bankruptcy as a tool to get you back on track financially, here are a few tips for choosing an attorney that works for you.
The Importance of a Bankruptcy Attorney
It is possible to file for bankruptcy without an attorney, but it is highly inadvisable. Like most in the legal profession, bankruptcy attorneys specialize in the process of bankruptcy. It’s best to choose someone who has experience helping clients file for bankruptcy in your state and who understands what’s required from the person filing. Attempting to file on your own or working with someone who has never taken a client through the process can make things far more difficult for you and could result in your request for bankruptcy being denied or needlessly more stressful
Finding the Attorney that Suits Your Needs
Once you’ve narrowed down your selection of attorneys to only those who specialize in bankruptcy, you’ll want to schedule a few consultations. You can assume the majority of the attorneys on your list could help you file, but that doesn’t mean all of them would be right for you. It’s important to work with someone with whom you feel comfortable.
Different attorneys – like people in general – have different styles of communication and different ways of approaching situations. If you prefer someone who is cut-and-dry and will “tell it like it is,” look for an attorney with this style. If you are more detail-oriented and prefer someone who will move slowly through an explanation of the bankruptcy process, make this a priority during your consultations. You’ll know what feels right to you and that’s likely the best attorney to choose.
Though it might seem smart, since you are struggling with money, to choose the attorney that offers the best value, this is not always the way to go. Obviously, your financial restrictions are an important consideration, but cheapest isn’t always best – and might not even be the financial value in the long run. If a bankruptcy attorney’s fees seem unusually high or unusually low, you should ask why. It’s important to know what an attorney offers and if the service you receive will be enough to help you through the process.
For more information on attorney’s fees and how to handle a discussion about fees with an attorney, visit the American Bar Association.
Finally, you’ll want to ask a few important questions to help you make your final decision. During your consultation, find out if you will work directly with the person with whom you are speaking. If bankruptcies are handled by a team or an attorney you haven’t met, you’ll want to meet the specific person who will handle your case before making your decision.
It’s also important to ask how communication will be handled. Do you prefer to have a written record of discussions? Choose an attorney willing to communicate through email. If you prefer to speak on the phone or in person, ask how often phone or face-to-face meetings will be an option, and at what cost. The more you know about the process and how your attorney will handle your case the better you’ll feel as you progress through bankruptcy.
If you are considering bankruptcy, we’d love to speak to you about your situation. For more information or to discuss the specifics of your case and what you’re looking for in a bankruptcy attorney, contact the law office of Frank J. LaPerch, PC at 845.942.5500.