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How to Find a Great Bankruptcy Lawyer

Updated on February 20, 2013

The decision to file for bankruptcy is not one to be taken lightly. Often times you’ll find that individuals who are preparing to file for bankruptcy have been struggling with debt for months – sometimes even years. They eventually find themselves in a situation that seems hopeless and, ultimately, decide that filing for bankruptcy is the best way to remedy their problems.

An individual filing for bankruptcy can go through the process of filing alone but doing so is strongly advised against, even by those working in the bankruptcy courts. It is often necessary to hire a competent bankruptcy attorney to guide you through the myriad of legal documents and procedures that surround bankruptcy proceedings.

What Type of Lawyer Should I Look for?

Before you hire a lawyer there are a few things you should know. Bankruptcy law is very complex, so it is often better to hire a lawyer who actually specializes in bankruptcy, or who at least dedicates a very large part of his practice to this type of law. A lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy will be more attentive to your needs and, most likely, will not charge you as much as someone who accepts the occasional bankruptcy case just to stay busy.

Make sure you are comfortable talking to the lawyer you are going to be working with. Choosing a lawyer is just like shopping for a new car or pair of shoes. Interview the lawyer you have chosen and never feel guilty if you leave his office without signing an agreement or leaving a retainer fee. You should not feel obligated to continue working with someone who makes you uncomfortable.

Finding Competent Bankruptcy Lawyers

Finding a lawyer you trust can be difficult. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Contact your local bar association and ask if they have a list of bankruptcy lawyers in your area. They’ll know which lawyers have the expertise you need.
  • Ask the lawyer if he is a generalist or if he specializes in bankruptcy law. You’re better off with a lawyer who regularly works with bankruptcies because he’ll be able to handle the intricate details more efficiently.
  • The success of your bankruptcy attorney depends on how open and honest you are as well. Make sure you tell the lawyer you interview everything you can about your financial situation. The information you give him will enable him to determine how complex your case really is.
  • Carefully read any agreements the lawyer you choose to work with presents. Ask questions about the fees, whether or not there will be any surprise “add-ons,” and confirm exactly what services the contract includes.
  • Make sure you ask the lawyer about lien avoidances, trustee disputes, and any non dischargeable actions or debts you may have.

If you’re not comfortable with a lawyer, move on to another one before signing a retainer or paying a fee. Be as open and informative as possible and the bankruptcy lawyer you choose will be able to help you through the process as quickly as allowable by law!


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