Filing for bankruptcy can be one of the hardest decisions you will ever make. Surely, you have dozens of questions and concerns rolling around in your head. Do you file on your own or hire an attorney? Who can help you navigate the madness that is bankruptcy law? How do you choose between the dozens of attorneys in your area and what should you look for in an attorney? Please read ahead to learn about the four most important traits to look for in a bankruptcy firm.
1. Experience and Know-How
Here are three questions to ask yourself when comparing bankruptcy firms: First, does the firm specialize in bankruptcy law? If so, how many cases has it filed within the last year? How many chapter 7 and chapter 13 cases has it filed within the last year? If the firm does not file at least 5-10 cases per month, you may want to steer clear. You can also check Americanbar.org to see if the attorneys you are investigating are bar certified.
2. Cost and Affordability
Bankruptcy filing fees range from a few hundred dollars for an uncomplicated chapter 7 case to several thousand dollars for a high risk chapter 13 case. Does the firm you are considering offer reasonable fees and payment plans? Like Lynch & Belch P.C., does it offer a free initial consultation where all fees are clearly explained and in writing? Are the firm’s fees competitive in the market you live in? Be weary of firms charging exorbitant prices and promising miracles and conversely, of firms that charge next to nothing and don’t have references or history to back them up.
Is the firm you are considering registered with the Better Business Bureau and if so, what is its grade? Are there any outstanding complaints or disciplinary actions against the attorney that will be representing you within your state or jurisdiction? Is the firm willing to provide references of past clients?
4. Availability and Empathy
Going through bankruptcy will be one of the most difficult periods in your life. Throughout the entire process, you will have questions, concerns, and emotional lows. Will the firm you choose to represent you hold your hand along the way? Do they genuinely care about you and your future?
As you choose a bankruptcy lawyer, always remember the four traits to look for in a firm: experience and know-how, cost and affordability, trustworthiness, and availability and empathy.