A lawyer for bankruptcy is an attorney who advises clients about bankruptcy, drafting their legal documents and appearing on their behalf in court. A bankruptcy lawyer must have a law degree and be admitted to practice in the state where they conduct business.
A lawyer can serve as your navigator through the bankruptcy procedure and guidance on issues like:
- To file for bankruptcy or not
- Which bankruptcy filing type to use
- How to file for bankruptcy
- Which court forms need to be filled out?
- Which debts are eligible for reduction or elimination?
- Whether or not you'll be allowed to keep your house, car, etc., once the bankruptcy process is through
What Does A Bankruptcy Lawyer Do?
Making important decisions throughout the complicated bankruptcy process, from before you file until your debts are dismissed, and the case is over, is something you must do. A bankruptcy lawyer can advise you on the bankruptcy process and whether it is appropriate for you at the onset. They assist you in critically evaluating your debts and assets, so you can decide whether filing for bankruptcy is the best course of action for you or whether it would be wiser to look for alternative ways to better your situation. If most of your debts, like student loans, are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, an attorney can help you determine if filing for bankruptcy would be in your best interests.
What to expect if you hire a bankruptcy attorney is as follows:
- A formal contract in writing between you and the attorney. The agreement will probably include a summary of the bankruptcy lawyer's representation of you.
- A description of the terms of payment. For example, would the attorney charge hourly or flat-rate fees? What will the costs be?
- Ongoing conversations. You'll discuss the way the lawyer is handling your case.
- A consensus. You will decide on the procedure and frequency of the attorney's case updates.
- A list of the papers. You should receive a comprehensive list of all the paperwork required for your case from the lawyer.
Types of Bankruptcy Lawyers
There are two major types of bankruptcy lawyers: consumer bankruptcy lawyers and commercial bankruptcy lawyers. Consumer bankruptcy lawyers help you file for bankruptcy on your own or jointly with your spouse.
When filing for bankruptcy, commercial bankruptcy attorneys shield your company from creditors. They can also aid in debt repayment and time requests for business restructuring. Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy lawyers are among them (more information in the next section).
Consumer bankruptcy attorneys work with creditors, pay off debt, and set up payment plans to safeguard you and your partner during bankruptcy filing. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers are among them (more information in the next section).
What to Look for in a Lawyer for Bankruptcy
Here are some important considerations as you search for a bankruptcy lawyer to assist you.
Select a lawyer with sufficient experience
Inquire about the experience level of a lawyer. The assumption that someone with more experience is always better qualified than someone with less experience is not always true. The quantity of bankruptcy cases they have successfully handled is what counts.
There are various approaches to looking for a lawyer's past work and experience. One is to question them directly; they'll frequently give you some background information about themselves and their prior cases. State bar associations often keep profiles for bankruptcy lawyers that include information about their specialties and the disciplinary actions they may have taken. Additionally, you can research an attorney's involvement in appeal court files to learn the outcomes of such cases.
Pay special attention to bankruptcy lawyers in your area
The lawyer should be knowledgeable about bankruptcy laws and the local legislation of the court where your bankruptcy case will be filed. The bankruptcy process varies from one locality to the next. For this reason, you ought to look for a bankruptcy lawyer with experience in the area where you intend to file. They can help you by utilizing their understanding of the local court's processes and staff.
Consult the state bar to discover qualified local attorneys. They typically keep a list of attorneys along with their areas of specialization. This is a good place to start looking for lawyers who practice in your area and are likely to be familiar with the local statutes and laws you will probably need to navigate during a case.
Find a lawyer that you feel comfortable with
You ought to hire a bankruptcy lawyer with whom you are at ease. To best represent you, get a person who will pay attention to you and learn the details of your case.
Don't base your choice only on cost. If your case is won, paying a good lawyer their standard fee will save you money. If someone charges a low price, they can cut corners, which could harm your bankruptcy case.
Look for a specialist
Your best option would be to choose a bankruptcy law specialist among the several lawyers you may find. Attorneys who handle various areas of law are probably unaware of the specifics of bankruptcy law or current with its most recent legal developments.
It's also beneficial to ask locals who have experienced a similar process. Even though this might be difficult, it also has a strong chance of yielding useful information because receiving firsthand accounts from people who have been in your shoes is frequently priceless.
How Much Do Bankruptcy Attorneys Charge?
The cost of a bankruptcy lawyer varies depending on the type of bankruptcy you file, the complexity of your case, and your location.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically costs $1,500, while a Chapter 13 bankruptcy typically costs $3,500. Other bankruptcy expenses include filing fees ($338 for Chapter 7 and $313 for Chapter 13) and between $10 and $100 for credit counseling and financial management classes.
Navigating bankruptcy proceedings can be challenging. This makes it essential to work with a bankruptcy lawyer. Depending on the type of bankruptcy case you file, your debt will either be lowered, removed, or reorganized so that you pay when you're able to. Creditors would rather get a lower amount of money than none, so they are willing to discount the amount you owe them. If you're filing a case for consumer bankruptcy, you may lose some assets, and if you're filing for commercial bankruptcy, you may lose your business. A bankruptcy lawyer will best evaluate your situation and recommend the type of bankruptcy case you should file. They will be there to help you through the process.
Deciding to file for bankruptcy is important. After all, depending on the type of bankruptcy, a bankruptcy filing stays on your credit report for seven to ten years. Think carefully about whether you want to handle your bankruptcy on your own, which is a more difficult option, or whether you want to hire a lawyer. Our expert attorneys at Contracts Counsel can help you draft bankruptcy documents so you can always be assured that you are taking a cautious and accurate action.