Every year, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who file bankruptcy.
Fortunately, the total number of people filing for bankruptcy has gone down over the last decade or so. But there are still quite a few people who are forced to seek the services of bankruptcy attorneys each year in this country.
If you believe that you might be able to benefit from filing for bankruptcy, you should make sure that you do it in the right way. That means starting things off by looking at the different bankruptcy lawyers in your area and choosing the best one.
Choosing a bankruptcy attorney isn’t something you should do on a whim after conducting a half-hearted Google search. Instead, it’s something you should think long and hard about so that you’re able to get the bankruptcy help you need.
Here are seven important things that people should look for when choosing bankruptcy attorneys.
1. Extensive Experience
One of the very first things that you should look for when you’re researching different bankruptcy attorneys in your area is the experience that each one has. Experience is a very valuable asset for any bankruptcy lawyer.
The last thing you want to do is bring a bankruptcy lawyer on board to provide you with help with debt only to discover that they’ve only been doing it for a few months. They aren’t going to have the experience that you need to get the most favorable outcome in your bankruptcy case.
In a perfect world, you should work exclusively with bankruptcy lawyers who have at least a few years, if not a few decades, worth of experience when it comes to bankruptcy law. You’ll be in good hands when you work with a lawyer that has been around the block a few times with regards to working on bankruptcy cases.
You can usually find out how long a bankruptcy attorney has been practicing bankruptcy law by looking at the “About Me” section on their website. But you can also come right out and ask an attorney directly how long they’ve been working in the bankruptcy arena.
2. Extraordinary Expertise
Most people have heard the word “bankruptcy” before and have some general idea of what it means. But what they don’t always realize is that there are a bunch of different types of bankruptcy that you can file for when you make the decision to do it.
Here are several of the most common types of bankruptcy today:
- Chapter 7
- Chapter 13
- Chapter 12
- Chapter 11
Do you know the differences between Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 12 bankruptcy? Not likely!
This is a big part of the reason why you need one of the bankruptcy attorneys in your area on your side. They can help you break down the different types of bankruptcy so that you can pick out the one that’s going to work best for you.
But, of course, they’re not going to be able to do this if they don’t have the expertise that it takes to work in the bankruptcy field. They need to know the ins and outs of each particular type of bankruptcy so that they can steer you in the right direction.
You shouldn’t hire just any old attorney to serve as your bankruptcy lawyer. Rather, you need someone who specializes in bankruptcy on your side so that they’re able to use their expertise to guide the way for you as you seek to file bankruptcy.
3. Convenient Location
When you’re working your way through the process of filing bankruptcy, you’re going to need to meet with your bankruptcy attorney early and often. There is a good chance that you could have to take a dozen or more trips to your bankruptcy lawyer’s office to talk to them about your bankruptcy case.
With this in mind, you don’t want to select a bankruptcy attorney that has an office located 45 minutes from your house. You’re going to end up putting a ton of extra miles on your car every time you have to go and visit your bankruptcy lawyer if you do.
You also don’t have to settle for working with the bankruptcy attorney with an office around the corner from your house if you don’t think they’re a good fit for you. But you should try to track down a lawyer that is somewhere within the general vicinity of your home. It’ll make getting to and from their office so much easier than it would be otherwise.
4. Positive Attitude
If you’re in a position where you’re filing for bankruptcy, you’re probably feeling down in the dumps. People who file for bankruptcy often feel hopeless about their financial futures and don’t know what they’re going to do next.
For this reason, it’s important for you to work with one of the bankruptcy attorneys in your area that brings a positive attitude to work each and every day. You need someone in your corner who is going to look on the bright side while working with you and find the silver lining in your situation.
The truth is that filing for bankruptcy doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You can usually use bankruptcy to your advantage if you’re able to play your cards right and put yourself into a much better position than the one you’re in now.
But it’s not going to feel like it if you end up working with a bankruptcy attorney who is always pessimistic and gloomy. You need someone who is going to make you feel like you’re doing the right thing while helping you wade through the different aspects of bankruptcy law.
5. Extreme Patience
Filing for bankruptcy can be a very confusing process for someone who has never done it before. If you fall into this category, you’re going to find yourself asking your bankruptcy lawyer a million and one questions every time you sit down with them.
Some bankruptcy attorneys, including many that have been around for a long time, will act like they don’t have the time to sit and answer all your questions. They’ll tell you to just trust them and to do what they say, even if you don’t understand what’s going on.
You don’t want to work with a lawyer like this! You want someone who is going to help lead you through the many facets of bankruptcy law while also explaining them to you and making sure that you feel comfortable at every turn.
In order to do this, they need to be extremely patient and prepared to hold your hand as you file for bankruptcy. Not every bankruptcy lawyer is going to do this, so you should make it a point to find one who will.
6. Affordable Prices
If you’re filing for bankruptcy at the moment, there is a decent chance that you’re not sitting on a pile of money in your savings account. You’re not going to be able to pay an arm and a leg to a bankruptcy attorney to handle your case.
Yet, you’re going to find that some bankruptcy attorneys will charge you a small fortune to help you with your case. On average, many of these attorneys charge somewhere between $3,500 and $5,000.
Your goal should be to find a bankruptcy lawyer that’s going to charge you a price that you can afford to pay. You don’t necessarily want to go with an inexperienced lawyer simply because they have the lowest prices around. But you should keep your eyes peeled for bankruptcy attorneys who do what they can to keep their prices as competitive as possible for their clients.
7. Proven Track Record
One of the last things you should do when you’re seriously considering working with one bankruptcy attorney over all the rest is read through online reviews people have left for them. Ideally, you want to work with a bankruptcy lawyer that has collected nothing but positive reviews from clients over the years.
Be wary about working with any bankruptcy attorneys that don’t have many reviews or, worse, that have a bunch of negative reviews. They probably aren’t going to be able to provide you with the kind of experience that you’re looking for.
The bankruptcy attorney that you hire should have a proven track record and plenty of people willing to speak on their behalf. It’ll show you that they know what they’re doing and can take care of your bankruptcy case.
Look Around at Some of the Best Bankruptcy Attorneys in Your Area Before Hiring One
Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer isn’t something that you should rush right into if you can avoid it. You should really take your time while sifting through the bankruptcy attorneys in your area until you find the right one.
Filing for bankruptcy is already stressful enough. You want your bankruptcy attorney to help eliminate some of the stress that you feel rather than adding to it. It’ll result in a better experience overall and allow you to reap the rewards of filing for bankruptcy.
Learn more about hiring different kinds of lawyers by reading through the other articles on our blog.