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Hiring a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Hiring a Bankruptcy Lawyer can be very confusing since there are so many lawyers claiming to be the “best” bankruptcy lawyer for you.  So, how do you decide who to hire?

Everybody is different. We all have our own likes and dislikes. When it comes to hiring a lawyer to help you with your bankruptcy case, you should make sure the attorney you hire is the right one for you.  Aside from finding a lawyer with a compatible personality, these are the factors you should consider:

Specialization

Bankruptcy law is really complicated. You should make sure that your lawyer spends the majority of his or her time with bankruptcy cases. A “jack-of-all-trades” type lawyer who “specializes” in criminal law, divorce, personal injury and bankruptcy may be a master of none of them – not your best choice.

Your financial future depends upon the successful completion of your bankruptcy case. You probably shouldn’t entrust it to a “handyman” type lawyer who dabbles in a lot of different areas of law.

A good web site to check on lawyer’s areas of expertise is Nolo.com.

Client Attentiveness

You want to be able to get through to your lawyer when you have a question. If an emergency arises, you really need to get through. If you’re considering several attorneys, it might be a good idea to call them all and see how soon it takes them to either take your call or get back to you.

You may also consider sending an email with a question. See who gets back to you and how quickly.

One thing’s for sure, if they don’t respond when you haven’t yet hired them, don’t expect a quick response after you’ve hired them.

Reputation

There are a number of ways to check on a lawyer’s reputation:

  • You can go the the State of Colorado Attorney Registration web site to see if there are any pending disciplinary cases.
  • You can ask family or friends, especially if you have been referred to the attorney.
  • You can go to Avvo.com, the lawyer-rating website. Avvo.com allows former clients to write reviews of their experience with the lawyer.
  • It can never hurt to Google the lawyer – you may find information that’s not on their web site.

Experience

You should make sure that your attorney has experience in the area of bankruptcy law.  Ask your potential lawyer how long they have been licensed and how long they’ve been representing people in bankruptcy.  You really don’t want to put your fate in the hands of someone who is just learning about this area of law.

It may be a good idea to see if they are listed as a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, the association for lawyers who represent people in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases.

Price

Of course, price is always a consideration. But don’t be fooled. You may see an ad quoting a really low price. Beware of the fine print. There may be extra “ala carte” charges added for things that are normally included.

Also beware of the law firm that charges everybody the same thing. Every case is different. Some are much simpler than others. It’s frankly not fair to the person with the simple case to pay the same price as the person with the complicated case.

One Response to Hiring a Bankruptcy Lawyer
  1. Paul Seabrook
    August 16, 2012 | 6:53 pm

    Great discussion,

    I have run into a few clients who left the big firm in town with all the TV ads after being thoroughly ignored. Little do people realize there are so many qualified attorneys in the area if they can just hunt a little more.

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