As you search for a good bankruptcy attorney, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Be careful not to fall victim to bankruptcy scams or bankruptcy mills, both of which will cost you money and cause more problems. Some disreputable operators will ask payment for things you can easily do yourself, and others, like bankruptcy mills, will often give you error-ridden, sloppy services that can make your bankruptcy more difficult to navigate. Most often, these operators will prey on your hopes and jeopardize your financial future. Instead, you should avoid cutting corners and make an attempt to find an experienced bankruptcy attorney who will help your case.
To find a good bankruptcy attorney:
- Start by asking around. Look for referrals from any friends or family members who have experienced bankruptcy. If you do not have any personal friends or family members whom you can ask for a referral, call on professional contacts in the industry. Another attorney, a mortgage broker, a banker, or a real estate agent you trust can refer you to a competent bankruptcy attorney.
- Do some research. Check with professional organizations such as the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, the American Bankruptcy Institute, or a related local legal aid organization. Attend bankruptcy court and watch a few lawyers in action.
- Ask for references and related credentials. Once you find a bankruptcy attorney with whom you are comfortable, check his or her qualifications. Call the references and makes sure the attorney’s background is a good fit. Because bankruptcy law is specialized, it’s preferable to hire a lawyer who exclusively works in the field and will have a good idea about recent trends in your state or city.
- Interview no fewer than three bankruptcy attorneys. Ask prospective attorneys specific questions about their experience and workload. If for example, the attorney works on business bankruptcies, it may not be a good match for your personal bankruptcy. You should also make sure that you will have access to the bankruptcy attorney during the process. After all, you want to make sure the lawyer adequately addresses your case and doesn’t treat you like a number on the wall.
Of course, you can always decide to file without a bankruptcy attorney. But bankruptcy is a nerve-racking experience. A good bankruptcy attorney can help you navigate the process and put your life back in order. With the right attorney, your chances for getting on the fast track to financial stability are much better. And don’t forget: Once you have declared bankruptcy, start learning how to build credit so you can rebuild your credit score!