Every year, more than half a million people file for bankruptcy in this country. Declaring bankruptcy can help people get back on their feet in a financial sense and create a brighter future for them.
If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy, you should think long and hard about whether it’s really going to be the best option for you. You shouldn’t rush right into filing for bankruptcy or you might come to regret it later.
You should also speak with a bankruptcy attorney before you officially decide to file for bankruptcy. They’ll be able to break down the bankruptcy process for you and help you figure out if filing for bankruptcy is the right choice for you.
You don’t want to hire just any old bankruptcy lawyer, though. With so many attorneys for bankruptcy to choose from, you should put some serious thought into which one you hire.
Here is how to hire a bankruptcy attorney for your case that you’ll be able to trust.
Learn Which Bankruptcy Attorneys Practice in Your Area
When you hear that over 500,000 people file for bankruptcy each year, that might sound like a lot. But in reality, less than 1% of American households file for bankruptcy on an annual basis.
Because of this, most people don’t ever have to file for bankruptcy throughout the course of their lives. It’s why the vast majority of Americans aren’t familiar with who their local bankruptcy attorneys are.
When you’re starting a search for a bankruptcy attorney, you should cast a really wide net and see who your options will even be. It would be worth Googling something like “bankruptcy attorneys near me” to see how many options you have.
You might be surprised to see how many bankruptcy attorneys exist in your area. You should jot down each of their names and give them all consideration so that you’re able to end up with a great bankruptcy attorney on your side.
Research Each of Your Local Bankruptcy Attorneys
Some people will make the mistake of Googling “bankruptcy attorney near me” and choosing the first one they can find. This will be especially true for those who need the services of an emergency bankruptcy attorney.
Whenever possible, you should try not to blindly choose one bankruptcy attorney over all the rest just because you’re in a hurry. Instead, you should take your time when choosing a local bankruptcy attorney to ensure you hire the right one to represent you.
In this day and age, it’s so easy to find out everything that you’ll need to know about bankruptcy attorneys. You can visit their websites and take trips to their social media pages to see what they can bring to the table.
While you’re doing your homework on a bankruptcy attorney, you should try to find out:
- How long they’ve been practicing law
- Where their expertise lies as a lawyer
- Whether or not they specialize exclusively in bankruptcy
- What sets them apart from other bankruptcy attorneys
- How you can contact them
Many bankruptcy attorneys will also have blogs set up that will help you learn more about filing for bankruptcy. You can get answers to important questions like, “What is a bankruptcy attorney?”, on these blogs and get a better sense of what the bankruptcy process will look like.
Make Sure the Offices for Bankruptcy Attorneys Are Conveniently Located
You and the bankruptcy attorney that you hire are going to spend your fair share of time together in the weeks and months ahead. You’re going to have to make multiple trips to their office to go over your bankruptcy case.
With this in mind, you don’t want to have to trek all the way to the other side of town every time you need to meet with your bankruptcy attorney. You want them to be conveniently located in a place that you can get to quickly.
If you opt to work with a bankruptcy attorney that’s located in a spot that can be difficult to get to, it’s going to make your bankruptcy case more stressful than it needs to be. It’s also going to force you to spend money you probably don’t have on rising gas prices.
Read Online Reviews for Nearby Bankruptcy Attorneys
While you’re researching local bankruptcy attorneys, you’re likely going to notice something. Almost every bankruptcy lawyer on your master list is going to make it seem as though they’re the best lawyer in the business.
This might make it almost impossible for you to figure out which bankruptcy attorneys are really the best at what they do. But you should be able to inch your way closer to finding out through the usage of online reviews.
Every bankruptcy attorney that has been around for more than a few years now should have a long list of online reviews from past clients. You should read through as many of these reviews as you can to see what different people have had to say about your local bankruptcy attorneys.
If you notice that some bankruptcy attorneys have lots of negative reviews to their names, it’ll serve as a red flag. You won’t want to consider these lawyers any further.
You’ll instead want to focus all of your attention on the bankruptcy attorneys in your area that have racked up one positive review after another. These attorneys are going to be the ones you can count on to assist you with your bankruptcy case.
See What Family Members and Friends Have to Say About Bankruptcy Attorneys
There is a stigma surrounding bankruptcy that it has been unable to shake. It causes many people to feel a great sense of shame when they’re put into a position where they have to file for bankruptcy.
Because of this stigma and the shame that is caused by it, you might not know a single person who has ever filed for bankruptcy. Even if they’ve gone through the bankruptcy proceedings, they might have vowed to keep quiet about it to stop you from finding out.
If, however, you do happen to know anyone who has ever filed for bankruptcy, they could serve as an invaluable resource for you. They might be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to picking out a bankruptcy attorney.
It’s not going to be particularly pleasant asking a family member or friend for a bankruptcy attorney recommendation. But you would be better off doing this instead of trying to find a bankruptcy attorney on your own and choosing the wrong one.
Call a Few Bankruptcy Attorneys and Interview Them on the Phone
When you get to this point in your search for a bankruptcy attorney, you should have a bunch of names knocked off your original list. You should also have a handful of bankruptcy attorneys inching their way up towards the top of your list.
You should call up these bankruptcy attorneys and see if they would be willing to take part in brief interviews with you. During these interviews, you should ask them a series of questions to try and get to know them even better than you already do.
Some of the questions you’ll want to ask a bankruptcy attorney during your initial phone call with them will be:
- “How long have you been helping people with bankruptcy cases?”
- “What kind of bankruptcy cases do you usually handle?”
- “Would you be able to assist me with my specific bankruptcy case?”
- “How soon would you be able to sit down and discuss my bankruptcy case with me?”
- “What is it that makes you different from other local bankruptcy attorneys?”
You don’t necessarily need to spend an hour on the phone with a bankruptcy attorney. But you should spend 15 or 20 minutes peppering them with questions. It’ll make it possible for you to start to differentiate the various lawyers in your city.
Arrange to Meet With Several Bankruptcy Attorneys in Person
If you can swing it, you should do more than just talk with different bankruptcy attorneys on the phone. You should also make it a point to meet with as many of them as you can.
You’ll be able to get a much better feel for what bankruptcy attorneys are going to have to offer to you when you stop by their offices. You’ll also be able to gauge:
- How established they actually are
- What they do to keep their bankruptcy cases organized
- Who else you might be working with at a law office outside of just your bankruptcy lawyer
You’ll be able to paint a more complete picture of who a bankruptcy attorney is when you visit their office. It’s why you should try to do this if possible.
Ask Bankruptcy Attorneys to Analyze Your Specific Case
As you begin to feel more comfortable with a few bankruptcy attorneys from your original list of options, you should fill them in on your bankruptcy case. You should tell them exactly why you’re interested in filing bankruptcy and provide them with additional details about your case.
You should then take a step back and ask different bankruptcy attorneys to analyze your specific case. They should be able to tell you:
- Whether filing for bankruptcy is your best option
- Which type of bankruptcy you should file
- How filing bankruptcy will affect you in both the short and long term
The average person has heard about filing for bankruptcy. But most people tend to fall into the Michael Scott category when it comes to actually understanding the process.
If this sounds like you, you’ll need to have your bankruptcy attorney evaluate your case to make sure that declaring bankruptcy is in your best interest.
Find Out How Much Bankruptcy Attorneys Charge
If you’re in a position where you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy, it likely means that you’re experiencing money issues at the moment. As a result, you won’t want to hire a bankruptcy attorney that’s going to charge you an arm and a leg.
The good news is that you might be able to acquire the services of a bankruptcy attorney for under $1,000. But you should also be aware of the fact that some attorneys for bankruptcy will charge thousands of dollars for more complicated cases.
You should ask around to see what different bankruptcy attorneys will charge you for their services based on your case. You can then compare the costs of working with different bankruptcy attorneys to see which ones will be able to provide you with the best deals.
Inquire About When You Would Have to Pay Bankruptcy Attorneys
Some bankruptcy attorneys are going to ask you to pay them upfront for their services. Others are going to allow you to pay them at the end of your bankruptcy case. And there are a few who might want you to pay them set amounts throughout the course of your case.
Regardless of which option you prefer, you should always ask bankruptcy attorneys to spell out their expectations for you paying them. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a spot where you have to pay a lawyer a set amount of money that you don’t have sooner than you anticipated.
It’s important for you to get on the same page with bankruptcy attorneys as far as when you’ll have to pay them. This could be one of the biggest factors to consider when you’re hiring a bankruptcy lawyer to represent you.
See to It That Bankruptcy Attorneys Have Room On Their Schedules for You
There are fewer people filing for bankruptcy than in past years. The total number of bankruptcy cases has plummeted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
This means that you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding at least a few bankruptcy attorneys in your area with room in their schedules. But at the same time, you shouldn’t automatically assume that a bankruptcy attorney is going to be able to take on your case and give it their all while doing it.
When you’re interviewing different bankruptcy attorneys, you should see to it that they each have enough time to fit you into their schedules. If you sense that some of them might already have too much on their plates, you’ll want to steer clear of working with them since they might not end up being as dedicated as they should be while working with you.
Select the Bankruptcy Attorney That You Like Best
As long as you’ve done everything else that we’ve listed here thus far, you should be left with a single bankruptcy attorney on your list in the end. This is going to be the bankruptcy lawyer that you’ll want to hire to handle your case.
You’ll feel confident in making a final decision on which bankruptcy attorney you’re going to hire when you know you’ve taken the right steps. They’ll be a lawyer that you can depend on to do what’s best for you during your bankruptcy proceedings.
If you have any hesitations about hiring a bankruptcy attorney at all, you should go back through your options and research them again. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to calling on a lawyer to assist you with a bankruptcy case. You deserve to work with someone who is going to strive to set you up with the best services in the business.
Give a Bankruptcy Attorney an Opportunity to Prove Themselves
After you pick out a bankruptcy attorney that you feel good about, you should let them know that you’re going to run with them. You should also arrange to meet with them ASAP to take a deeper dive into your specific case.
When meeting with a bankruptcy attorney for the first time after hiring them, you should pay attention to how they do business. Even though you’ve hired them, they should still be looking to wow you at every turn.
Your bankruptcy attorney should:
- Clearly explain how your bankruptcy case will play out
- Provide you with all the right paperwork to help you file for bankruptcy
- Take care of filing all your bankruptcy-related paperwork
- Answer any and all questions you might have about filing for bankruptcy
- Take your calls and answer your emails when you attempt to contact them
Just because you choose to go with a certain bankruptcy attorney doesn’t mean you have to stick with them. So you should always be evaluating their performance and reminding them that they need to put their best foot forward while working with you.
Switch Bankruptcy Attorneys If You Aren’t Getting the Services You Expected
Are you unhappy with the way that a bankruptcy attorney is treating you? Or are you getting the sense that they aren’t as experienced with bankruptcy cases as they led you to believe?
You should always trust your gut when it comes to working with a bankruptcy attorney. If you aren’t satisfied with the services you’re getting, you should think about taking your business elsewhere.
There aren’t any laws that say you have to work with the same bankruptcy attorney throughout an entire bankruptcy case. You’re free to drop a lawyer and pick up a new one if you would like.
Of course, it’s not necessarily advisable to change bankruptcy attorneys multiple times throughout your court proceedings. It could delay your bankruptcy case and potentially even lead to you not being able to declare bankruptcy in the end.
But if you aren’t happy with your first choice, you can always get a new bankruptcy attorney in a hurry. You can move on to another option that looked good to you and see what they can do.
Be Patient While Working With Your Bankruptcy Attorney
One thing that you should remember as you’re filing for bankruptcy is that the bankruptcy process isn’t going to play out overnight. Even the simplest bankruptcy cases can take six months or more to be completed.
For this reason, you should try not to get too frustrated with your bankruptcy attorney if your case is taking longer than you expected. It’s more than likely not their fault that it’s taking a long time.
In this case, you’ll want to stay in constant communication with your bankruptcy attorney. They can explain why things aren’t proceeding faster and give you a rough timeline for how things should play out moving forward.
You’ll be better off touching base with your bankruptcy attorney like this instead of hounding them for updates and growing impatient with them. That isn’t going to do you or them any good.
Rest assured knowing that a great bankruptcy attorney will do everything in their power to bring your case to a close pronto. They’ll also be sure that they’re keeping you in the loop so that you don’t get too stressed out at any point.
Start Your Search for a Great Bankruptcy Attorney Today
Filing for bankruptcy can be a difficult and time-consuming process. So the last thing that you want to do is make your search for a great bankruptcy attorney harder than it has to be.
Use all of the tips found here to launch a successful search for a bankruptcy attorney. They should lead you in the right direction from the beginning and allow you to find a bankruptcy attorney with the right qualifications to assist you.
We would love to tell you more about how we can help you with your bankruptcy case. Contact us now to get more information on our services.