You’re ready to file bankruptcy and understand it’s far too complex a task to try and tackle on your own. A simple Google search will provide you with a list of potential attorneys near you, but who’s the best? Who will take the time to look at the specifics of your case, and provide you with the guidance that would work best for you (and not the attorney’s wallet)… even if that means not filing bankruptcy?
Here’s how to sift through that long list and narrow down the best possible attorney for you.
Certifications & Accreditations
Any strong bankruptcy attorney will be a member of National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), and there is a local Tidewater Bankruptcy Bar Association. Active membership with these associations ensures the attorney(s) are staying up to date with the latest laws, developments, etc.
The State Bar website will also be a great resource for you as well. Here, you can ensure the attorney you select actually does bankruptcies. Additionally, you can learn how much of the attorney’s practice is actually devoted to bankruptcy and discover if there were ever any complaints or disciplinary action taken against the attorney.
Many attorneys offer a variety of practice areas. Because of the complexity of bankruptcy law, it is important that you select an attorney who has devoted a large amount of their practice to solely to bankruptcy. This will ensure they are well-versed in bankruptcy law and will be able to handle complexities that others may not.
Attorneys that aren’t as specialized may not be aware of all options available to you, or require enough supporting documentation from you to support your case which in turn could case your case to get rejected by the court. This can be especially true for low-rate bankruptcy firms that crank out a high case volume, but they are not overly complex or customized.
Check out various attorney websites. Who provides educational materials/free offers on their site? Read through case results and client reviews. Reviews can be found not only on attorney websites, but also Facebook, Google+, Avvo, Yellowpages, etc. Click around and read about the firm before you commit.
Once you’ve done all of your homework, take advantage of the free consultations that most bankruptcy attorneys offer and get to know them. This is great in terms of price shopping and more importantly, determining an attorney who you have a great comfort level with. Who seems to have the greatest passion for what they do? Who seems to have the most empathy for your situation, and makes you feel like an individual as opposed to just another number?
In addition to personality and professionalism, the best bankruptcy attorneys provide alternate resolutions. They aren’t just trying to “push” you down one path, and they may recommend that you don’t even file bankruptcy at all. The best attorneys will tell you why a Chapter 7 may be better for your particular case vs. a Chapter 13, or perhaps your best alternative may be a debt consolidation plan or even legal aid. Make sure the attorney you select asks probing questions about you, has a full understanding of how you got into financial distress in the first place and provides you with options.
Make your decision based on who’s the most experienced yet affordable, and who's most concerned about getting you a Fresh Start. At Hampton Roads Legal Services, we are committed to doing just that. Give us a call today at (757) 320-2010 for your free consultation.
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