Tips for Choosing a Bankruptcy Attorney
  1. Don't allow your case to be shuffled to an attorney with whom you are not comfortable, or to any attorney further "down the ladder" than the one with whom you have had your initial consultation. Most likely, you will be getting an attorney with a lesser degree of experience. Ask your attorney if he is the one who will go to court for you. Ask him if he is the one who will be handling any unforeseen problems that may arise in your case. "Case shuffling" will never occur in this office.
  2. Get your attorney to give you a fee agreement in writing. The agreement should contain exactly what is included in the fee and what is not. Do not take any attorney's word that "we will work out fees later". Ask him to candidly discuss possible future fees for problems that may (and frequently do) arise in your case. Remember to ask him if he will be charging part of his fee "under the plan". A fee taken under the plan is not merely an extension in time to pay your attorney. It may be a hidden cost, since the extension to pay under the plan is not free; the trustee charges about 10% for his services. Also, remember that bankruptcy schedules and Plans often must be amended at least once. What will be his fee? Once a fee is set by our office, there is never an additional charge for phone calls, office consultations, normal document preparation, or court time that was not expressly spelled out in your fee agreement.
  3. Bankruptcy Court Rules require that all fees be declared to the court at the inception of the case, or later approved by it. Fees to be charged by our office are always in writing and you are encouraged to request a description of all of our bankruptcy fees.
  4. Look for an attorney with experience in foreclosures, Chapter 13 filings, and in handling complications with case management. Don't accept an attorney who handles just a small number of cases a year. We have been handling bankruptcy cases on a regular basis since 1979.
  5. Insist on an attorney who answers all your questions in your own language. Nothing should be "glossed over". If a subject is treated lightly by your attorney, ask why. If he is going too fast, ask him to slow down. It is important that you understand, so don't be afraid to ask questions -- that's your job!
  6. Insist that your attorney return your phone calls within a reasonable period of time. Repeated unreturned phone calls could costs you your home or other important property through neglect. Chapter 13 cases require management and close cooperation between attorney and client.
  7. Get your attorney to give you written instructions. Most people quickly forget their rights and obligations in complex cases. Bankruptcy is a complicated matter, even for lawyers. Paper is a cheap commodity!
  8. Remember, you are the boss; not your attorney. You can choose whomever you wish and change at any time as long as you comply with your contract with your present attorney (that is, if you already have one).

Wondering about a cram-down...

Future bankruptcy lawyer...(circa 1957).


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