If you are able to read simple instructions, filing for personal bankruptcy is something that you can do yourself if you so choose. But, because many people are intimidated by legalese and the court system in general, many find it easier on their nerves to simply hire a bankruptcy attorney.
Most people also feel that with a bankruptcy attorney at their side there is much less chance of them making an egregious error of some sort. When looking for an attorney, however, you shouldn't simply go through the phone book or Internet and select one at random. There are a few traits to look for that will give you the best financial outcome for your money.
The first thing that is important to look for is an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy law. In addition, you want one who has practiced it in the state where you are filing.
While it is true that just about any attorney can actually handle the filings of your bankruptcy papers, a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcies will be able to advise you as well. And advice is what you are really paying for. An experienced attorney will be familiar with the various quirks in the law for your state. And, more importantly, he will also be able to advise you as to whether you should file for bankruptcy at all. Many times, depending on your exact financial state, you may have better options than bankruptcy.
You also want to look for certain credentials. While not having them, should not rule an attorney out, having them should be a point in their favor. If he has been certified in bankruptcy law, that is a point in his favor. It is good, also, if he belongs to and is active in professional attorney associations in your state.
How many bankruptcy cases has he actually handled? The more the better. You don't want to be the person that he is practicing on to get his experience. You want experience, but you want the right experience. Many of the large law firms deal in bankruptcies, but their specialty is business bankruptcies which can be quite different from personal bankruptcies. You want one who has real life experiences in personal bankruptcies.
You also want to get references from him of people he has represented in bankruptcy cases. And you want to actually call these people to get feedback.
When choosing an attorney, don't just interview one attorney or firm. Try at least three. Set up your interviews, ask the questions that you need, and choose the one that you feel most comfortable representing you.
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