The bills are piling up and the amount that is owed is significantly greater than the money you have in savings. You are in over your head and you know it — having the ability to admit this fact is a huge accomplishment and an extremely important first step toward fixing the financial problem at hand and finding a qualified bankruptcy attorney.
Once you’ve come to terms with the fact that filing for bankruptcy is the best (and smartest) option, you’ll need to find the right person for the job. Be wary of the fact that not all bankruptcy attorneys are equally qualified or compassionate. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re conducting a bankruptcy attorney search.
Where to begin…
It is critical to have an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy. Though the last major revision to bankruptcy law was passed in 2005, interpretations of the law are constant so you’ll want someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. You’ll begin by searching for qualified bankruptcy attorneys in your area. Once you’ve compiled a decent list of names, you’ll need to begin vetting them. Read up on their online reviews, take a look at their qualifications, and then schedule calls with your top choices in order to get a better feel for their philosophies, working style, and personality.
Ask the right questions
When you get the chance to talk with your potential bankruptcy attorney, you want to make the most of the opportunity and ask the questions that matter most. Think of it as an interview, as this person will have the responsibility of protecting your assets and personal belongings — an extremely important role to fill. Consider asking this list of questions when conducting your bankruptcy attorney due diligence.
- Do you believe I’m a qualified candidate for bankruptcy? If yes, which type makes the most sense for my situation: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?
- How many bankruptcies have you handled over the course of your career as a bankruptcy attorney? Which chapters of bankruptcy do you consider to be your expertise?
- How many people do you have on your legal team? What are some of the resources you have at your disposal that will prove beneficial for my case?
- Do you charge for calls? What is your accessibility and/or how quickly can I expect you to get back to me when I leave a message?
- What is your exact role in the bankruptcy filing process? What tasks will you be handling and what will be passed off to your legal partners in the firm?
The end goal of this conversation should be to determine whether or not this individual is competent in their field of expertise and if they are truly confident in their ability to solve your debt problems. Remember, you’re looking for someone who is devoted to helping people get back on their feet. Someone like Matt McCune and his dedicated bankruptcy team.