Making the decision to file for bankruptcy can be a difficult one, but choosing the right bankruptcy attorney to handle your case can be even harder. It helps to do your research, not only online but in person, too. The following tips can help someone who is considering filing for bankruptcy choose the best attorney for the job.
Many people will start their search on the Internet, looking online to find a bankruptcy attorney. Experience is one factor that should always be considered when choosing an attorney. Experience does not just mean years practicing law. It is important to find someone who has filed cases in bankruptcy court and handles bankruptcy matters regularly. It helps a great deal to find someone who focuses his or her practice solely on bankruptcy law and who handles the specific type of bankruptcy the filer is pursuing instead of a general practice attorney who handles a little bit of everything. Many attorneys will handle only Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, while others will handle corporate bankruptcies, restructuring and reorganization.
Online Reviews and Client Testimonials
Like any business decision, it helps to check out the online reviews for the attorney. See what other consumers have to say about the attorney’s work. Look for red flags like multiple reviewers saying that the attorney never followed through on phone calls or did not complete the work, as promised. While a bad review may show up every now and then, if numerous poor reviews exist, there may be cause for concern. Contact the Florida Bar and see if the attorney has had any recent complaints filed against them. Check online and see if the law firm is accredited with the Better Business Bureau. Membership requires that businesses uphold certain ethical standards and customer care.
It helps to first find out what the average bankruptcy attorney charges in terms of fees. These fees can vary depending on the type of bankruptcy case. While it is not always advisable to go with the lowest cost attorney, it does help to compare pricing, along with available payment plans offered. Ask how often you will be billed by the attorney, how much of a retainer is required, and how the bill will be handled after the retainer is depleted.
Questions to Ask the Attorney
It helps to walk into the consultation with a list of questions to ask the attorney to determine if he or she is the right fit during the first meeting with a bankruptcy attorney. One important question to ask has to do with the attorney’s availability. One of the biggest complaints that clients make of their attorneys has to do with the lack of availability. How quickly does he or she return emails or phone calls? Will a certain staff member other than the attorney be the best contact in the office? It may also be helpful to ask the attorney if he or she has any certifications, as well as how many bankruptcies he or she has handled.
Also, ask the attorney to clearly explain the law and what to expect in the bankruptcy process. At the end of the free consultation, you should walk away understanding what to expect and have a good feeling about the process. At the end of the day, a potential client needs to walk away feeling confident in the his or her selection. If any red flags show up in the consultation process, it is best to keep looking.
Displays a Passion for the Process
Your attorney should have a genuine interest in the area of bankruptcy law. Filing for bankruptcy can be an emotional process, and it is important that your attorney displays a desire to understand you and your specific goals. Ask why they chose this area of law to specialize in. It is not only important to look for the proper credentials when hiring an attorney, but also for an attorney to take the time to address your fears and concerns about the process, while treating you with the upmost respect.
If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.