How to Choose a Bankruptcy Attorney

For many people, the decision to file for bankruptcy doesn’t come easily. It can be fraught with emotion after years of building financial stress in your business or personal life. Fortunately, the right Bankruptcy Attorney can alleviate that stress by helping you choose the right options to resolve your debts. Not all Attorneys are equal, though. Here are some things to consider when making that important decision.

Credentials and Associations. Rhode Island does not have a certification program for legal specialties; however, many states do. You can start by checking with your State Bar Association to look for Attorneys who specialize in Bankruptcy Law. The laws on this subject can be extremely complex, so finding an Attorney or Legal Firm that specializes in bankruptcies as a major part of their practice — not just a small percentage of their work — can make a difference, particularly in complex cases. You’ll want an Attorney who knows all the ins and outs of your specific situation. You can also check into which Associations the Attorney holds a membership. The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, for example, provides training for thousands of Bankruptcy Lawyers to help keep their knowledge up-to-date. Membership in a well-regulated industry organization can be a sign of commitment to professionalism.

Experience. Next, find out about the Attorney’s background and how much experience they have handling cases similar to yours. Even within the realm of Bankruptcy Law, many Attorneys concentrate in different types of bankruptcies. If you’re a consumer looking for relief from credit card debt, for example, an Attorney who spends most of their time restructuring corporate debt may not be the best fit. You will want an Attorney with a strong track record in resolving situations similar to yours.

Communicating Options. The best Attorneys are both good listeners and good communicators, something you can usually judge in your initial meeting. It’s a smart idea to meet with several Attorneys before you make a decision, but not simply to price shop. You want to find an Attorney who listens carefully, then asks the right questions to make sure they fully understand your needs. A good Bankruptcy Attorney also will be able to clearly explain your options, including the benefits and drawbacks of each one. Rarely are things simple in the legal world. There are advantages and disadvantages to every option in front of you, whether it’s Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Credit Counseling or simply finding a way to pay your bills. An ethical Bankruptcy Attorney will give you a menu of options and walk you through what your future would look like under each one. Usually, with a clear understanding of the possibilities, they can help guide you to the best choice for your personal situation.

Other Strengths. Many good Attorneys don’t focus 100 percent of their time on bankruptcy law and that’s fine. In fact, depending on your case, their experience handling other aspects of the law could be invaluable as you look for the best financial options for your future. An Attorney like myself, with experience handling divorce, probate and personal injury litigation has experience and recommendations that tie into your bankruptcy proceedings. Overall, if you find a Bankruptcy Attorney with the right combination of credentials, relevant experience and communication skills, you will be well on your way to putting your financial stress where it belongs: in the rear-view mirror.

Before filing bankruptcy or beginning the process, you should consult with an experienced Kent County bankruptcy attorney to find out if declaring is right for you. At the Law Office of Steven J. Hart, we strive to help people get their financial independence back while keeping their possessions that matter the most. Attorney Hart and his team are dedicated to providing the highest standards of professional legal counsel in order to put the law on your side and help you through your most difficult financial times.

For a personal consultation, call the Law Office of Steven J. Hart today at 888.701.0919.

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