No, don’t be afraid to ask to see your attorney’s resume. If at all possible get a referral from a satisfied friend. Talk to the prospective attorney on the phone before you go in. If you don’t feel good about the conversation, trust your instincts.

When you look for a bankruptcy attorney you want someone who is knowledgeable, aware of the changes in the law, articulate and pleasant enough not to annoy the bankruptcy trustee who has the key to your future, and also, an attorney you feel comfortable talking with. If you think the attorney is impatient, arrogant or judgmental, go to someone else.

Many people like you check the web and some still check out the yellow pages to find a lawyer. In the old days, about 30 years ago, lawyers were not permitted to advertise according to the Bar Code of Ethics. This is probably because there is no real way to determine the quality of the lawyer by the advertisement. So, the web and the phone book can be a resource but keep in mind that it is “buyer beware.” Do your research before being dazzled by who can make the loudest graphic splash.

The point is, don’t rely on an attorney’s marketing ability to determine the quality of their work. Remember, one of the major criteria you might want to use in choosing an attorney is how comfortable you feel with the person and how much they involve you in the decisions that will affect your life. Many attorneys have the attitude that “well, I know how to do this and you don’t, so let me do it and don’t bother me about it.”

You should leave each meeting with your attorney with a sense of empowerment that you know what is going on. You don’t have to know every detail. But you should know what decisions you are actually making, what the implications will be for your life, and what alternatives you might have.

Many people ask: Do I Need An Attorney to File for Bankruptcy? I can only say that you will be living with your decisions for a long time so you should carefully consider the following. Here are some reasons you may want to retain competent legal counsel to file your bankruptcy petition.

Contrary to what many people believe about filing for bankruptcy, you do not have to lose everything you own. The courts allow for you to maintain what you need to live through what is called exemptions. An attorney can help you maximize your outcome while walking you through the process.

If a creditor knows you are not represented by an attorney, he might try to convince you to enter into a reaffirmation agreement, which is an agreement to repay a debt either during your bankruptcy proceeding or afterwards, when due to your discharge in bankruptcy you no longer have a legal obligation to pay. If you don’t know that slightly significant fact, you will be out of luck.

A discharge in bankruptcy means that you do not have to pay debts included in your bankruptcy. But if you are harassed by a creditor, you will not necessarily know that and can be manipulated into paying money you don’t have to pay. If you are persuaded into making an agreement with a creditor after a bankruptcy discharge, this is considered a binding agreement that you will have to pay. You may be convinced that this is an honorable thing to do, but if you were in a position to pay the bill in the first place, you would not have had to file bankruptcy.

Without competent legal counsel you might not know that there are situations where you might want to reinstate a debt, particularly if you want to keep the item to which the debt is associated such as a house or a car. A good bankruptcy attorney will be savvy enough to analyze what are the best strategies for your particular situation. Your attorney should help you to feel confident that at some time in the near future all will be well.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The information on my website is intended as a general discussion of legal issues and not as a statement of fact, legal advice or a legal opinion. No attorney-client relationship is created by information provided herein. Do not act or rely upon information in this communication without seeking the advice of an attorney licensed to practice in your state.

This Web site is an advertisement by the Law Offices of Robin L. Bodiford, P.A., a debt relief agency helping people file for bankruptcy relief under the bankruptcy code.

The Law Offices of Robin L. Bodiford, P.A., is a Federally Designated Debt Relief Agency under the Bankruptcy Code. We assist consumers in need of bankruptcy relief and have been doing so since 1995.

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