Bankruptcy is one of the most common reasons for someone to need an attorney. Filing for bankruptcy is a complicated process and a lot can go wrong. Working with a bankruptcy lawyer means you’ll have the guidance and support you need. They’ll help you avoid problems and ensure that whatever assets are eligible for protection to receive that protection so you don’t lose them.
But how do you find a bankruptcy attorney?
Here are a few tips:
1. Understand Why You Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer
First of all, it’s important to know why you need an attorney when you file for bankruptcy. Legally, it’s possible to file on your own. But even though you can do it doesn’t mean you should.
People often assume it would be better to file for bankruptcy without an attorney because of the cost. It’s true: you will need to pay more to file when working with a bankruptcy lawyer. But that expense can save you a lot of money in the long-run. Even in the simplest of bankruptcy cases, filing without a lawyer is risky. One mistake and your entire case might be dismissed. This means you are back to where you were before considering bankruptcy and maybe even in worse shape. If you are filing to protect your home or stop a wage garnishment or bank levy, the outcome can be dire if your case is dismissed.
Whatever money you save by not hiring a bankruptcy lawyer isn’t worth it if you aren’t able to get the result you need.
2. Identify Where You Can Find a Bankruptcy Lawyer
There are many ways to find an attorney. Most lawyers aren’t shy about advertising, so finding one might be as simple as contacting someone you see on television or you find through a Google search.
Since you know you need a lawyer to help you file for bankruptcy, you can narrow your search by looking for lawyers who specialize in bankruptcy. This means they’ll have the expertise needed to help you with your case.
If you’re lucky enough to know someone who filed for bankruptcy, you might be able to get a personal referral. Ask the person if they were happy with their lawyer and if they’d recommend that person to help you with filing. This is one of the best ways to find a bankruptcy lawyer because you have a good idea of what to expect.
If you don’t know anyone who has filed, consider contacting the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA). This is a national trade association that connects experienced attorneys with consumers in need of assistance filing for bankruptcy. Working with someone who is a member of NACBA means your lawyer will be up-to-date on the latest bankruptcy laws and who is active in the local legal community.
If no bankruptcy lawyers in your area are NACBA members, you can look for referrals from an online legal referral service. Some of the most popular online resources for finding a lawyer include:
These are free services that provide contact information for attorneys in your area based on the specialty you need, which in this case is bankruptcy. You can also contact the local bar association and request a few referrals.
3. Take Advantage of Free Consultations Offers
Finally, you’ll want to meet with a few bankruptcy lawyers before making your final decision. Most offer a free consultation. This means you get an in-person or remote meeting that allows you to discuss your situation and learn about your options. This is also a great way to determine if an attorney puts you at ease and helps you feel confident about filing for bankruptcy.