5 Tips for Choosing the Right Bankruptcy Attorney for You

Filing a bankruptcy is a big life choice. As I have written in previous posts it is not nearly as scary as people assume it to be. That said, it is important to choose an attorney who knows what they are doing and who has a reputation for good client advocacy.

You don’t want to get stuck with someone who won’t return your phone calls, is rude, or who gets disbarred after they start taking your money.

What follows are some tips for choosing a good bankruptcy attorney.

1. You can find attorneys with bankruptcy expertise by using the attorney finder function of NACBA. NACBA is the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. Attorneys that you find on this site have paid dues to the organization which I believe shows that they are committed to the bankruptcy field. You want an attorney who files bankruptcies regularly, not once or twice a year.

2. Another good source is your local bar association. Contact your local bar association and see if they have a referral service. Referral services generally require attorneys to have 5 years of experience in the field you are looking into. They also often require that their attorneys they refer clients to have completed continuing education courses in the field you are looking for.

3. Ask around about the attorneys reputation. If you do not know anyone who has used them, look online. Attorneys are rated by http://www.avvo.com. While their methodology may not be perfect, (for example, you might have a great attorney with 20 years experience who has a rating of 7.0, on the other hand you might have one with 2 years experience with a 10.0.) I am not sure how accurate the ratings are, but you can at least see if they have any reports of misconduct.

4. Go to a free consultation. Most bankruptcy attorneys will offer you 30-60 minutes of their time to figure out if you are a good candidate for bankruptcy and to determine how complex your case is. This really serves an additional purpose of helping you to determine if it is someone you would be comfortable working with. Some attorneys do charge a consultation fee. If this is the case with the attorney you want to meet ask them if they apply that fee to the overall attorney’s fee. Even if they do charge an additional fee for the consult, it may be worth it if their reputation is sterling.

5. Ultimately, make the decision using all the information at your disposal. If they were referred by a reputable source, if they have a good reputation, and if the fee is something you are comfortable paying, be confident in your choice to go forward and provide your attorney all of the information that ask for. If you have done this, chances are your case will go smooth.

Best of Luck,

5 Tips To Select The Best Bankruptcy Attorney For Handing Your Case

Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in a court can be a stressful process and can be bothersome, too, unless handled professionally by an experienced Bankruptcy Attorney. There is high chance of rejection by the honourable court in case the applicant makes some minor blunders while filing for bankruptcy. The filing and handling of the case needs immaculate planning, detailed preparation and consistence follow-up as per the norms in order to get the bankruptcy claims awarded by any court.

Role of a professional Bankruptcy Attorney:

A Bankruptcy Attorney is a legal advisor, who can make you understand the basic concepts of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy as per Federal Government norms. They can advise you and guide in preparation of all the legal documentations, paper works as per the local court regulations and procedures. They are also experienced enough to clarify any specific and critical queries in connection with the process of getting out of debt through filing a bankruptcy claim under chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy regulations.

Although Bankruptcy Attorneys don’t come cheap and their professional charges are considered to be quite a bit on the higher side, with a sensitive analysis and informed decision you can always select the best Bankruptcy Attorney to proceed with your planning to get out of debt. Here we have a few tips to help you choose the best Bankruptcy Attorney for filing your bankruptcy case.

1. Search someone familiar with your local bankruptcy laws:

The regulations for bankruptcy vary from state to state and hence it’s always advised to select a Bankruptcy Attorney, who is familiar with the state law. If you are not sure about which attorney can handle your case of bankruptcy protection, you may seek some references from online forums. You can also check if your attorney is a member of The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA).

2. Check the background of the law-firm you plan to hire:

You can also gather more information about your preferred Bankruptcy Attorney firm from their website. You must have a look at their experience; previous cases handled by the firm and take some references in order to ascertain the professional efficacy of your attorney. You can also check if the firm is associated with similar cases and have attained success in them.

3. Take reference from your state Bar Association:

Most of the Bar Associations in the states offer Lawyer Referral Services for individuals looking towards bankruptcy protection. You can search online for Bar Association of your area and check their website for such a referral service. They enlist attorneys who have experience in handling bankruptcy cases and they can be a real help to find a good attorney.

4. Contact a bankruptcy court in your locality:

In some of the states, courts also offer such Lawyer Referral services. If you are unable to find one in your area, you may call the courts, where you intend to file bankruptcy and get a few names to select from. Local courts can also help you in a legitimate manner to file a bankruptcy claim with pre-defined legal fees and procedures.

5. Set-up personal appointment with an attorney offering free first consultation:

Most professional Bankruptcy Attorneys will be willing to offer you a free first consultation to estimate the case and determine if they can help you. Check for some of the reputed law firms to avail such a consultation. Discuss your problems with them and they can guide you through the legal procedures if you can file for the bankruptcy protection.

With these simple but effective 5 steps, you can surely get the best Bankruptcy Attorney to handle your case, for sure!

What You Must Know About Fees For Your Bankruptcy Attorney – Costs And Types

When you are planning for filing for a Bankruptcy, it’s essential to know about the fees or the Attorney associated with filing the claims. Contrary to the popular myth that the fees for bankruptcy claims are decided by the court, it mostly depends on the type of bankruptcy claim and the law firm handling the case. Most of the times, there is a flat fee for filing, but it may vary depending upon the nature of the case and the legal aid being availed for filing such cases.

Let’s look at some of the types of costs and fees that may be asked by your Law Firm while assisting you for filing the popular bankruptcy claims under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

Average cost for Chapter 7 fees:

If you are going for filing Chapter 7, the fees of your attorney will largely depend upon the complicacy of the case. For simple bankruptcy claims, there may be a flat fee, but for complicated cases, it’s the law firm that decides your fees and cost of arbitration. Also, if you are falling into a higher income group and your assets are more than the state median for a similar household, you may be asked for a higher fees as compare to the person who has no or negligible assets. Also you have to pay the fees upfront in most cases before filing.

Typically will charge something in between $500 – $ 3000 depending upon the complicacy of the case. Bigger and popular firms may charge you a bit higher as compared to individual legal practitioners. Similarly you can also expect comparably less fees from a new Law firm as compared to a well-established one. It’s always advised to check with a few from your area to know about their specific fees structures before hiring them. Also if you are looking for a cheaper Bankruptcy Attorney, you must check their specialization and experience and not only the fees.

Average estimation of Chapter 13 fees:

Most of the courts in various states have set a guideline for average fees for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorneys. Unless, otherwise justified, no Law Firm will charge you more for filing Bankruptcy under Chapter 13. For different judicial districts the fees vary and its typically around $2000 – $5000 in different districts. There is always a facility to pay the fees in installments and you don’t have to pay it upfront.

In most of the cases under Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, there is a upfront fees that is asked by your Bankruptcy Attorney and the remaining amount is asked through a convenient repayment plan scheduled over a few months. It’s always advised to be ready to pay almost half of the fees in advance and the remaining through installments, if someone is going for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Hourly Fees:

Depending upon the nature of the case, you may be asked for an hourly fee by your Bankruptcy Attorney.
Flat fees:

Depending whether you are filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13, your Bankruptcy Attorney may set a flat fee for the case filing.

Courts approval:

If at any time someone thinks that the fee asked by the Bankruptcy Attorney is unusual and not justified, he/she may seek courts approval for any such fee structures. Approvals can be taken from the court for a justified amount of fees and that can be paid to the Bankruptcy Attorney upfront or in installments as decided by the court.

Always remember to clear your stance on fees from your Bankruptcy Attorney to avoid any confusion and file a favorable bankruptcy claim.