Accepting that you need to file bankruptcy can be a huge challenge, especially when being financially insecure makes hiring a bankruptcy lawyer appear hopeless. While it is possible to file bankruptcy without a lawyer, very few people have the knowledge and simple finances required to do so. But don’t worry, there is hope. Choosing a bankruptcy lawyer and reclaiming your financial life is probably easier than you think.
Filing as an Individual vs. Business
The first step to choosing a bankruptcy lawyer is deciding whether you are filing as an individual or as a business. This is typically a very clear choice, and there are lawyers who specialize in both areas.
Individual bankruptcy cases can be filed as Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Individual, or consumer, bankruptcy lawyers can handle both. Businesses can file Chapter 7 or Chapter 11, and will want to look for a commercial bankruptcy lawyer to handle the case. Start by looking for a lawyer who specializes in one of these areas to narrow your search.
Type of Firm
When it comes to firms, you’ll find two types. Consumer bankruptcy firms tend to operate as solo practices or small firms, with a few lawyers sharing a small staff. Other firms opt to have one or more lawyers supervising a large staff of paralegals and clerical workers who do most of the work.
These larger firms are considered by many to be “bankruptcy mills.” They have an assembly-line style of approach, with a different person handling your case at each step. While an advantage of this model is that a task specialist handles every step of a case, a drawback for many is that you may not see your attorney until it’s time to sit down with your creditors a month after your case is filed. Many bankruptcy filers feel this approach is impersonal, and that their unique needs aren’t heard.
No matter the size of the firm, the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer will be about the same. With that in mind, many people filing for bankruptcy choose lawyers operating solo or as part of a small firm. With this model, your attorney is hands-on with your case every step of the way, and can gain a much better understanding of your entire personal financial picture.
Where to Search
Once you have an idea of what kind of bankruptcy lawyer and firm you are looking for, you can begin an informed search. Low income families can find out if they qualify for free services through Legal Aid or Legal Service Corporation. For people comfortable asking for help, personal referrals from friends and family go a long way. Search engines will offer many options to choose from, while associations such as NACBA and NACA, online referral services, and local bar associations can offer more specialized search results.
Of course, you can also reach out to us here at topgunbankruptcylawyer.com to find out how we can get started on your bankruptcy filing today.