Choosing a Bankruptcy Attorney or any attorney for that matter can be daunting. Perhaps, the search for an attorney seems as overwhelming as your debt. Just take a D-E-E-P breath! Below are a few things you should consider before choosing a bankruptcy attorney.
Client Reviews – Of course, today the first thing we do find an attorney, restaurant, doctor or a hotel is a Google search. When you do a Google search for an attorney you, of course, you want to pay attention to how many reviews does the attorney have? Read the reviews – all of them. Do the reviews pertain to the area of law which you are searching for an attorney? For example, if the attorney has great family law reviews but you are searching for a bankruptcy attorney then you probably should keep searching.
Recommendations by Friend and Families – Many times clients choose an attorney based on a recommendation by a friend or family member. The friend or family member may have based the referral of a positive experience with an attorney handling for example, a family law case NOT a bankruptcy case. Unfortunately, clients come to me after retaining a family law attorney to file their bankruptcy. You would not go to a dermatologist for problems you are having with your heart. Same rule applies in law.
Attorneys with very few exceptions cannot distinguish themselves as experts or certified in a particular area but the attorney your considering has a website which should speak for itself. Most Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys are small boutique firms. Many large firms often take a small amount of consumer bankruptcy cases but beware because if it is not their primary area of practice they may not be as knowledge on recent court rulings that could positively or negatively effect your case. You should generally stay clear of an attorney or law firm that handles too many areas of law.
Experience and Qualifications – How long has your attorney been practicing law in the area you are searching? Has the bankruptcy attorney spoken at seminars? What percentage of the attorneys law practice is currently devoted to. Websites like Avvo provide detailed attorney profiles, client reviews and even denote whether the attorney is in good standing and/or whether the attorney has had ethical violations. If the attorney you are considering has prior or current ethics violations you should keep looking. There are more than enough attorneys without any ethics violations to choose from.
Go With Your Gut – Many clients come to me after disastrous results while working with their prior attorney. Most of them say that they were not comfortable at some point in time during the representation. Many times their gut tells them at the outset that it is not a good fit but because they are stressed and under pressure they move forward with that attorney with hind sight being 20/20. When in doubt always go with your GUT!