Though the economy is slowly beginning to show signs of improvement, bankruptcy filings are at an all time high. In July of last year, there were 87, 684 bankruptcy claims filed nationwide, according to a report from the American Journal of Medicine. In California alone, bankruptcy filings have increased by roughly 600% since 2006.
Chances are, you or someone you know may be considering filing for bankruptcy. It’s important to remember that you are not alone in making this decision. Studies indicate that one out of every 70 households in the United States will file for bankruptcy.
If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, the first step is to find a reputable local bankruptcy lawyer. Finding a lawyer who has experience in bankruptcy proceedings and law isn’t difficult, but does require some time and research. If you’re wondering how to find a good bankruptcy lawyer, keep these three things in mind during your search.
Look for bankruptcy law lawyers who have years of experience as well as the appropriate credentials. However, keep in mind that years of experience is not always indicative of success. Begin by asking how many bankruptcy cases the lawyer has handled and specifically what kinds. A lawyer might be experienced in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but not Chapter 13.
This coincides with experience, and requires a little bit of additional research. A lawyer may have decades of experience yet has a relatively low success rate. In comparison, a lawyer who recently graduated from law school may be more successful and therefore a better choice. Read client reviews and testimonials online, or check with your state’s bar association to see if any complaints or action has been taken against the bankruptcy law lawyers you have in mind.
Prior to scheduling a consultation, find out what the bankruptcy law lawyers in your state usually charge for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case. In this case, the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Likewise, a higher fee doesn’t necessarily correlate with better representation. There are many important questions to ask a lawyer when meeting them at a consultation, so it’s important to come prepared with a list. Don’t be afraid to ask how you will be billed.
Keep these tips in mind when searching for the best representation for your needs. Often times, many people find that the decision to file for bankruptcy is often harder than going through the actually proceedings. It’s understandable why people may be hesitant to file bankruptcy due the stigmas associated with it, however, keep in mind that the benefits of a fresh financial start greatly outweigh unfounded societal views.