Tips for Hiring a Bankruptcy Attorney
You might have considered filing for bankruptcy and now on the step of looking for a professional that could help you go through the process. With the abundance of bankruptcy attorneys, are you wondering how to best hire one?
Read from our guide some tips on where to look for attorneys, and what to do on your first meeting, among others.
While a business normally has a corporate attorney, a bankruptcy filing would need the services of another kind of attorney -- one that is adept at handling bankruptcy matters. The most important service that your lawyer can give you is advice on what type of bankruptcy you may file for. It will determine your fate in the coming months and years; whether you will be stripped of both debts and assets, or continue paying debts.
How to Find an Attorney
You can use personal references, the yellow pages, telephone directory, the newspaper, the Internet, state listings to find for bankruptcy attorneys. If you want certified ones, go to the Web site of the American Board of Certification where you can choose from more than 1,000 attorneys who specialize in bankruptcy. Visit www.findlaw.com to find lawyers by state. If a lawyer was not referred personally, make sure by outside research whether he has not received any ethical complaints in the past.
Interviewing /First Meeting with an Attorney
first meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer is usually for free and this is where you determine whether you can team up and have a productive working relationship with the person. Ask for a consultation with several lawyers so that you could choose with whom you think you can work best. Ask about their bankruptcy experience, how long they've been practicing and the certifications they received.
The lawyer himself will ask from you some information required not only in the bankruptcy filing but also to determine which type of bankruptcy is suited for your situation. Come prepared by bringing the answer or documents that would support your answer to his questions. Prior to the meeting, research what are the most common questions a bankruptcy lawyer would need. It is best for you to have a record of all your bills ready as well as outstanding taxes and related court summonses, proofs of bills payment, credit reports, an estimate of your monthly living expenses, and of course information about your assets and liabilities. This conscientiousness could save you time and attorneys fees. And speaking of fees, discuss how much would the attorney asks for his service and what will be the fee arrangement.
Attorney Fees and Arrangement
Discussing about attorney fees and payment arrangement is an important part of the meeting. From this you will lean what services you will be receiving, what type of fees you will be charged, the estimated amount you will be billed, how other costs will be treated, and how you will be billed. Some of the questions that will be answered by this will be whether the lawyer bills on an hourly or contingency or on a retainer basis, what costs will be shouldered by whom, and how often will the billing be.
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