Bankruptcy Attorney | When Shopping For A Bankruptcy Attorney . . .
Bankruptcy Attorney | Representing parties in personal bankruptcy is an area of consumer law where clients come and go. Most consumers wisely go through a process of selecting a good bankruptcy attorney based on referrals from friends, family, or another attorney they know. In the old days, we went through the phone book. Now, Internet based advertising has become the primary source of marketing for consumer lawyers.
There is a joke out there that assumes that the best attorney has the biggest ad. In my experience, that is not the case. I offer the following comments for you to consider.
1. DON’T BE PRESSURED INTO FILING BANKRUPTCY.
Filing bankruptcy will be one of the most important financial decisions you ever make, if not the most important. Your bankruptcy lawyer owes you the highest duty to objectively review your situation and tell you whether to file, and when to file. That lawyer should also have the integrity to tell you not to file, or to wait to file, or that you don’t have to file. Unfortunately, there are lawyers who lose sight of this and will pressure you to file now.
2. NEVER LET A LAWYER PRESSURE YOU INTO PAYING FOR HIS OR HER SERVICES DURING THE INITIAL CONSULTATION.
Most bankruptcy attorneys offer a free consultation. (It is also fair for a lawyer to charge a reasonable consultation fee. My consultation fee is usually free, unless you are filing a business bankruptcy) I have heard horror stories from people who go to the consultation and then are pressured to pay the lawyer for their bankruptcy case right then and there. (Some lawyers will represent to you that if you don’t pay the lawyer right then, the fee will go up if you pay at a later date. In my opinion, that is highly unethical.) An attorney fee is a component of how much time the lawyer will spend on your case. You are entitled to the same rate an attorney charges all of his clients. Your fee should be higher if more work is involved. Your fee should not be higher because you caved into pressure. Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is not like buying a car. You’re already under a lot of stress. Your lawyer shouldn’t add to that.
3. BE WARY OF LAW OFFICES WHO QUOTE OVER THE PHONE.
My office is constantly asked by people calling in “how much do you charge?” People obviously price shop, and that’s ok. The problem is, while your case is often simple and you will only have to pay fees and costs under $2,000, and sometimes significantly less than $2,000, you may have dischargeability issues, or exemption issues, or other issues that will require more time and attention. That low fee will never cover those attorneys’ fees and the quality of representation together with the time your attorney is willing to spend on you diminishes substantially. In close to 30 years of practice, I have never been subject to a formal fee dispute with a client. Be confident that when you retain this office, and are quoted a fee, that is all you pay. Whether you may have to pay more down the road is fully disclosed to you by this office before you pay anything.
4. DON’T HAGGLE WITH AN ATTORNEY, AND BE WARY OF THE ATTORNEY WHO QUOTES HIGH, AND THEN STARTS OFFERING DISCOUNTS.
Most bankruptcy cases are simple. And all attorneys know what fee is required to cover their time and overhead. When an attorney starts offering you discounts, that attorney was too high to begin with, and is probably still too high. When you haggle, you stand the chance of not getting the quality of representation you need. Rely on your friends and family and other attorneys who refer you, and then assess the attorney when you meet with him or her on your own basis and understanding. You are entitled to a written fee agreement that explains fully what is and isn’t charged. Demand from your attorney to know what the entire fee and costs will be for the case to come to a full conclusion.
If you are considering filing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in Bakersfield for your business, get advice sooner, rather than later. Call Max Gardner Bankruptcy Attorney at 661-888-4335