If you’ve decided bankruptcy is the next step for you, then you need to hire a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer to assist you is one of the most important steps in successfully filing bankruptcy and avoiding legal consequences. But how do you know which lawyer is right for you?
Always meet with a few different lawyers, whether in person or on the phone. Then, consider the following criteria before deciding which bankruptcy lawyer to hire.
Signs of Professionalism
A good bankruptcy lawyer Phoenix AZ relies on is actively practicing and up to date on the latest laws. You can confirm that a lawyer is doing these things by checking the following:
National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
An active and engaged bankruptcy lawyer will be a member of this organization.
Not only can you confirm that the attorney is indeed qualified to practice, you can also check if they have any disciplinary actions against them by looking them up with their state bar.
Ratio of Practice
What percentage of the lawyer’s practice is comprised of bankruptcy? How much time do they spend on a different area of law? You’ll want to hire an attorney who practices bankruptcy consistently enough to be aware of the most current laws.
In evaluating a lawyer’s personality, you’ll want to consider the following:
Attitude Toward Their Work: What is their attitude toward their work? How long have they practiced? Why do they do it? Try to find a lawyer that is passionate about practicing bankruptcy.
Attitude Toward You: What is their attitude toward you? Indifferent and dismissive? Or concerned and patient? Are they taking the time to listen to you? Are they empathetic to your situation?
When a person feels like they are drowning in debt, bankruptcy can be a last resort. But it might not always be the best option. Upon evaluation, an ethical lawyer will determine if there are other viable options to bankruptcy and present them to the client. Other options might include debt management or debt resolution.
The lawyer you choose to represent you should have fees consistent with the other lawyers you’ve met with. Courts often cap the fees an attorney can charge, so if a few different lawyers have evaluated your case, chances are they’ll all be in the same general ballpark. If a firm charges a fee unusually higher or lower than the ballpark amount, be warned.
Taking the time to research and meet with various attorneys is an important part of the bankruptcy process. You should feel confident in moving forward with filing once you’ve found the right lawyer who meets all your criteria.
If you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy, call a skilled attorney today.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Kamper Estrada LLP for their insight into bankruptcy.