How to Choose A Bankruptcy Attorney
How should you choose a bankruptcy attorney? In short, find a competent attorney you like and feel comfortable with. Spend some time talking to him (or her). Attorneys are not interchangeable. There are good attorneys, and there are bad ones. Some are helpful, and some are not. Some are more talented than others. Whom you hire as your lawyer can make a big difference in how smoothly your case goes and how it ultimately turns out. Here are some suggestions:
- Call the attorney and schedule an appointment. Getting honest advice up front, before you decide to file for bankruptcy, is the most important part of the bankruptcy process. Does the attorney take time with you, or does he seem rushed? For most people, a half-hour consultation is not enough-it takes longer. Does the attorney explain in detail how bankruptcy works? Does he point out potential problems? Does he answer your questions? Does he ask you questions? If not, don't hire him as your attorney.
- Does the attorney treat you with dignity and respect? Do you get the impression he cares about you? Do you like him? If he is arrogant or rude, or if his attitude makes you uneasy, keep looking. Trust your feelings.
- Do you feel the attorney is giving you honest advice? Not everyone in financial trouble should file for bankruptcy. Does he discuss alternatives? If he seems to think bankruptcy is the solution for every problem, get advice somewhere else.
- Is the attorney knowledgeable about the law? Don't be afraid to ask hard questions. If he won't answer them, go elsewhere.
- Stay away from ambulance chasers. You should take the initiative when it comes to finding an attorney-not the other way around. If you receive unsolicited mail from a lawyer wanting to represent you, avoid him. He is looking out for his interests, not yours.
- How do the attorney's feescompare with those of other lawyers? More expensive does not necessarily mean better. On the other hand, very low fees usually mean the attorney cuts corners in ways you won't know about until it is too late. Be careful. The fee should not be your only reason for choosing an attorney.