How to Choose a Bankruptcy Attorney
Choosing to file bankruptcy to resolve financial difficulties is clearly a big decision. An equally big decision is determining which attorney should represent you.
Bankruptcy is a complicated process. Bankruptcy laws seem to be designed to discourage individuals from filing bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Code is riddled with pitfalls and snares consisting of deadlines, caveats and exceptions which can cause an inexperienced person to lose property or to be denied a discharge in their bankruptcy. You need an experienced attorney to guide you through the bankruptcy process.
Some of the things which a person should consider when hiring a bankruptcy attorney are the following:
Experience: You want an attorney who has significant experience with bankruptcy. Bankruptcy law is intricate. An attorney must be familiar with the ins and outs of the Bankruptcy Code and the surrounding law to properly advise you. An inexperienced attorney may not be aware of the ways specific hurdles can be surmounted in order to handle a case effectively.
An attorney who merely dabbles in this area of law will most likely have gaps in his or her understanding of bankruptcy law and may not be up-to-date in recent developments. In 2005, the Bankruptcy Code was changed significantly. The fallout from these changes is still being experienced. Case law constantly is being updated to interpret how these changes should be applied. An attorney who is unfamiliar with bankruptcy may not be on top of these changes or be aware of the significance of the seemingly subtle adjustments.
The practice of law is similar to the practice of medicine. There are many specialties. A divorce attorney may struggle with handling a criminal case in the same way a podiatrist would struggle with handling open heart surgery. Hiring an attorney who is competent in the area of law in which he will be representing you is very important. No reasonable person would hire a podiatrist to perform open heart surgery, and you should not hire an attorney unfamiliar with bankruptcy to represent you in a bankruptcy.
Location: Although bankruptcy law is federal law, bankruptcy law interacts with state law as well. In addition, there are local bankruptcy rules that determine much of the procedures which need to be followed when filing a bankruptcy case.
Level of comfort: Meeting with the person who is representing you is important. You should at least have one face-to-face encounter with the attorney you are hiring before you hire that attorney. If you are never allowed to meet with the attorney, you can expect that you will not have access to him when proceeding with your case. It is also likely that you will not have access to him if there are problems or complications with your case. When you meet with an attorney you should ask yourself the following questions:
– Did he or she answer your questions?
– Did he or she discuss what you should expect to happen?
– Did he or she give you a roadmap of the normal course of events?
– Did he or she explain what will be expected of you?
– Did you walk away knowing what will happen next?
If you answer “no” to most of these questions, you should think long and hard before entrusting this attorney to handle your financial future.
Price: Price should not be the determining factor when choosing your attorney. Filing a bankruptcy is expensive and hiring competent counsel will cost you, but hiring incompetent counsel will cost you even more. Having a good attorney on your side is important when pursuing a bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy is a life altering process. If you commit to pursuing it, you need to make sure that you have someone who will guide you through the process. You need someone who will make sure that your case is not dismissed on a technicality and someone who will help you minimize your losses.
Hiring a cut-rate attorney will get you cut-rate services. Simply put, you will get what you pay for. If you are interested in hiring Hoglund Law for your bankruptcy needs, please give us a call at 651-202-2203 to schedule a free consultation at one of our many offices located throughout Minnesota. Call us anytime between 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM to speak to a live attorney about your situation. If you’re interested in learning more about our team of leading attorneys feel free to visit their profile pages located on our website.