Bankruptcy law has gone through many changes in recent years, which makes a good lawyer more important than ever for a successful bankruptcy case. It is also important to be fully informed about what a prospective lawyer can offer and what to expect from them. If you are talking to a bankruptcy lawyer, here are four questions to ask them before signing a contract:
Should I file for bankruptcy or do I have other options?
This is a broad question that allows the attorney to cover a lot of ground with you and discuss your options. It allows them to give a recommendation as to whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is a better option for you, or even if there is an option outside of bankruptcy that you haven’t considered. This overview will likely give you a clear understanding of the benefits and negatives of filing bankruptcy and is a good place to start with a prospective attorney.
Who will actually be handling my case?
Sometimes the lawyer you are speaking to isn’t actually the one who will be handling your case. It is good to know if they plan to pass the case on to someone else. There is typically a single hearing in bankruptcy cases. So if someone other than the lawyer you are speaking with actually goes to court with you, it is a good idea to talk to them as well that way you can be familiar with them and discuss the case with them.
How much of your time is devoted to bankruptcy cases?
Even if an attorney has 20 years of experience, if they only do two or three cases a year, they won’t be as experienced as a lawyer that does bankruptcy work exclusively for a much shorter period of time. Bankruptcy laws have changed, so it is important to know that your attorney is familiar with these changes.
How much do you charge for your services?
This might seem like a no-brainer first question, but it is a good idea to ask it last. First of all, it gives you an opportunity to see all of the other services that the attorney plans to provide. There are a number of ways an attorney can request to be paid. Some work on cases on an hourly basis, while others may charge a flat fee, so it is a good idea to get an estimate of how much a case will cost. Additionally, it is important to know if there are any other expenses that may be incurred during their work that may be charged to you. Remember, like in so many other things, with a lawyer, you get what you pay for.
If you are seriously considering bankruptcy and live in Oakland, San Francisco, or Berkeley, you need to consult with a Bay Area bankruptcy attorney. While the process is complicated, they will be able to help you understand your options and help you avoid making bad decisions that you could later regret. Isn't it time you got rid of all that debt —for good? Get in touch with a top Bay Area bankruptcy attorney who knows how to get the job done quickly and effectively. Contact Law Offices of John T. Orcutt at +1-888-234-4190 for a free consultation.
Author: Carl Gustafson