Every year millions of people file for bankruptcy. in the U.S. Some file the papers themselves, but the vast majority of people use the services of a bankruptcy attorney. This is true even though most personal bankruptcies are simple enough for an average person to file on their own.
People will choose a bankruptcy attorney for a number of reasons. In most cases, however, they figure it is simply easier to hire an attorney to take them through the entire bankruptcy process rather than taking the time to teach themselves. But, although he will cost you money, a bankruptcy attorney can make the process go much smoother. Ideally, having filed many bankruptcies before, he will make sure that all of the necessary paperwork is filled out correctly before making an appointment with the courts.
Finding The Right Lawyer
A good starting point in looking for a bankruptcy lawyer is to speak to your current lawyer and ask for a referral. Assuming that you are on good terms with your personal lawyer, he will want to make the best possible recommendation to you because it reflects on him. If you don't have a personal lawyer, some communities will have informal rating agencies where you can begin your search.
There are also many consumer clubs across the internet, such as angieslist.com who provide services in which their members can actually rate businesses, professionals, and so on in the community. As a last resort, you can choose a lawyer through the Yellow Pages or from one of the many television ads where bankruptcy lawyers are advertising their services. Picking one in this way, however, is much like flipping a coin. You could be lucky or unlucky.
What to Look For In A Bankruptcy Lawyer
Never hire a bankruptcy attorney unseen. Make an appointment, to see him. Most will not charge you for the initial visit where he will ask you general questions to get an idea as to whether he can help you. You should also use this opportunity to ask as many general questions of him as you can to determine if your personalities mesh and that you can trust him. Also, notice how much feedback he gives you as to your options. This can demonstrate if he is really listening to your problems and addressing them or if he is simply looking at you with dollar signs in his eyes.
What should you look for in an attorney? Primarily, you want to know that he has experience with the type of bankruptcy you are filing. This means that if you are filing for Chapter 11, you want a Chapter 11 bankruptcy lawyer.
And since state laws can vary, you want to be sure that he has experience in the state in which the bankruptcy is being filed. And, it goes without saying, the longer he has been in business, the more confident you can feel that he will do a good job.
Because you want to keep as many of your assets as possible, you want an attorney that knows all the ins and outs of bankruptcy law and who will fight for you against your creditors.
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