Choosing a bankruptcy lawyer can be tricky. Who are the good ones? Who are the ones to stay away from? Who will treat me like a number? Where are these form mills I’ve heard about? When choosing a bankruptcy attorney you are looking for someone of knowledge and quality.
Q if for Quality Bankruptcy Attorney
Here is a list of how to find quality bankruptcy attorneys:
-Ask your friends: You can still be discreet and ask friends if they have ever used an attorney for any reason. Maybe to draft a will or for a divorce. If they had a good experience with that attorney they may also work in the field of bankruptcy or work at a firm who has an attorney who does bankruptcy.
-Perform a Google search for bankruptcy attorneys and try to get the local search results. Those attorneys nearby should have reviews of former clients who took the time to post a review about the attorney. Yelp.com also has a similar feature.
-Do a Google search and look through some attorney websites. Do they contain a ton of free information? The websites with a lot of content provide quality attorneys because the attorney is showing you his/her knowledge. You don’t have to waste meeting with an attorney to determine whether he/she is knowledgeable, you can filter and meet with those ones YOU KNOW are knowledgeable.
-Does the attorney have a blog about bankruptcy and does it contain interesting topics or fluff. If it is fluff that looks like it could be found from a random search about bankruptcy then it was probably written by someone else and not the attorney. A quality bankruptcy lawyer will have many posts about a variety of topics in the field.
-Does the attorney provide a picture of himself/herself? If they don’t provide a picture you have to wonder what else they are hiding. Does the lawyer look friendly or stern? I would lean away from the stern looking attorney. You need to be able to work with the lawyer not be scolded.
What to look out for:
-The attorney or lawyer’s website states a price for the bankruptcy or a range. THIS IS A WARNING OF A BANKRUPTCY MILL! Why? No case is the same. If the lawfirm is charging everyone as if they are the same it should make you wonder if you are getting everything your particular bankruptcy case needs.
-As an addendum to the above, if the price is listed as $599 or below, run away. Why? The bankruptcy filing fee alone is $306 for a Chapter 7. By stating such a low figure, there is likely hidden charges or fees involved. Most quality bankruptcy attorneys will charge a flat rate for the bankruptcy filing and possibly some other charges for out of the ordinary issues.
-Does the attorney or lawfirm handle Adversary Proceedings? If not, they are a bankruptcy mill. Adversary Proceedings are sometimes filed against debtors to determine whether a debt should be discharged, but also filed by debtors to discharge some debt that is normally nondischargeable. If the lawfirm does not do Adversary Proceedings, then it clearly will not do all that it takes to represent you.
-Do they provide a consolidated credit report or ask you to provide one? A consolidated credit report is a report created from the reports of all three major credit reporting agencies. It is necessary to make sure all of your creditors are listed in the bankruptcy.
-Do they only do Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases? Once again, they are a bankruptcy mill or only do bankruptcy cases in small doses. This should tell you that the lawfirm is not interested in doing what is best for you, just what is quickest. Wouldn’t it have been nice to know that you could have wiped away a second mortgage by filing a chapter 13?
-Finally, this is just me, but I don’t trust any lawyer or website that has a contact form directly on the main page of the website. I’m not talking about the sections that ask you to give your email address to sign up for updates or a free book, the ones that ask for your name, address, number, etc. To me it just seems sleazy. Also, there are a lot of websites out there that are referral services. If you are on the site and can’t find the name of an attorney or lawfirm, it is a referral service. You will get any random attorney who has paid a company money to get your information from you.
Make sure to find a Quality Bankruptcy Attorney that you can work with and you will find a fair and reasonable price for the service and know you are getting the best service possible.
Other Bankruptcy Attorneys talking about the Letter Q include:
Quiet-New York Bankruptcy Lawyer, Jay S. Fleischman