Bankruptcy law can be complicated. If you ever find yourself dealing with it, hiring a lawyer is a good idea. He or she can help you navigate the complexities of the process. Here are four tips for hiring a bankruptcy lawyer.
1. Determine What Expertise You Need
There are different kinds of bankruptcy, and therefore, attorneys with different areas of bankruptcy law expertise. You need to hire a lawyer with the right education and experience to represent you. For example, if you live in Texas and owe money to the IRS, you should seek out a Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer in Houston, Dallas or whichever city is closest to your home address. Chapter 13 only applies to consumers, so you can also hire a chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer for issues such as mortgage disputes or falling behind on a loan, but he or she won’t be able to represent a business entity.
2. Research Potential Law Firms
You can learn much about potential law firms by first checking out their websites. A good law firm should also have a well-designed website. It doesn’t matter whether a law firm web design company was hired or someone working at the law firm developed the website. What matters more is whether or not you can navigate the site and gather the information you need about the firm. Consult reviews, recommendations and client feedback to determine the quality of the law firm’s work. You should also review the firm’s licensing and other qualifications.
3. Schedule Initial Consultations With Potential Firms
After you pare your list down to two or three attorneys, contact those firms and ask to set up an initial consultation or meeting with the lawyer. Check whether that initial consultation will come with a cost and how much it will cost if it does. Most firms do offer free half-hour consultations for potential clients. Meeting the lawyer in person is vital. He or she can have the most impressive credentials, but you may still not make a positive connection when you meet face to face. If you don’t do this, it may make your working relationship difficult, which may, in turn, have a negative effect on your case.
4. Ask Effective Questions
When you go to your initial consultation or speak with the attorney over the phone, go with a list of effective questions for him or her. Listen carefully for red flags and take notes so you can reflect on the attorney’s responses before you make any decisions. You should ask about the attorney’s experience in bankruptcy law, such as the number of cases they’ve worked on and what they were like. You should ask whether they work with clients directly or indirectly and how they plan to stay in contact with you. You should also ask how easy it will be for you to access and work with the attorney throughout the process.
You should always select your legal representation carefully. Make sure you do your research and meet or speak with your potential lawyer before you commit to hiring him or her.