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Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney

What to look for in a bankruptcy attorney.


You want to make sure, if you are filing bankruptcy, that you have an experienced, skilled, qualified bankruptcy attorney assisting you in the process. You want to find someone who practices bankruptcy law on a daily basis. You can find this information by doing a little research.

First, go on the website. Most bankruptcy attorneys are going to have a website to let you know all they have been doing over the years, what they have written on the subject, what clients have to say about them, and basically what type of information they are providing. Does this bankruptcy attorney seem to be one that’s helpful? Does this attorney seem to be one that wants you to be educated in the process?

Once you cross that first hurdle, you have to make a decision on who you are going to go see. I recommend you visit with at least three attorneys in person. By making that appointment, you will be able to learn so much about the attorney, the office, and determine how your case is likely going to be handled. Is the attorney on time? Is the office clean? Is the office staffed? Did the attorney answer all of your questions? Did the attorney make you feel comfortable? Were you able to glean any information by visiting the office?

You will be amazed at what you can learn if you look at an attorney, their office, and their staff with a discerning eye. You want to make sure that this office handles bankruptcy on a day-to-day basis. When you go to see a doctor for a particular specialty, you would likely see information all over their office concerning whatever specialty they provide. The same is true with a good bankruptcy attorney. If you come into my office, you’re going to see immediately the book that I wrote, Chapter 7 Success. You’re going to see other brochures and newspaper articles concerning bankruptcy. Importantly, you are going to see a book that has hundreds of thank you letters and complimentary words from prior clients who I’ve helped to get out of debt and into financial freedom. Before you even meet with me, you’re going to experience all of that in the waiting room.

You also want to make sure that the attorney can answer all of your questions without having to research it, or having to walk out of the room and find out, and come back and tell you the answer. You want somebody who has experience. You want somebody who’s part of the American Bankruptcy Institute. You want someone who has written extensively on the subject, and who has made bankruptcy practice his or her life’s work. You have every right to ask that bankruptcy attorney for a referral of a name or two of someone that they have helped that can convince you that you should hire them.

Once you’ve done that, you want to ask the most important question, which is, “how do you plan on communicating with me?” You want to make sure that your bankruptcy attorney will communicate with you on every step of the process. Now, whether that means by phone, by mail or by email, you want to have contact with that attorney. You are going to be married to that attorney for approximately 4 months. You want to make sure that communication lines are open.

If you take my advice and do your research, and then meet with several bankruptcy attorneys, I think you will clearly see that there are differences among the attorneys. Although everybody practices federal bankruptcy law, everybody files a typical bankruptcy petition, and everybody appears in front of a 341 Meeting of Creditors with a trustee, there is a great difference in skill, knowledge, and the customer service level between attorneys. A rookie attorney will not realize what can be an issue in a bankruptcy case. An experienced bankruptcy attorney will know that issue as it arises, and will be able to accommodate you and advise you on how to avoid having a potential conflict in your case.

For example, if a client has a motor vehicle that he or she owes money on, but there’s a little extra income or equity, I want to make sure the client knows that there is a potential that he or she might have to buy out the trustees’ interest, or have to surrender that vehicle in exchange for a fresh start. By knowing that information ahead of time, the client can plan accordingly. The client can change into a lesser equity car and use the existing proceeds for living expenses. Other attorneys might not give that type of advice, and it might come back to bite the debtor during the case.

So make sure you hire a skilled bankruptcy attorney. Make sure you do your research. Meet with several of them and you will definitely see a difference between bankruptcy attorneys. In addition, that goes beyond fees. Most attorneys are going to charge within the same range of fees. You want to make sure that you are not hiring the cheapest attorney just save money. Hire an attorney who is competent, who can take you from point A to point B with as little difficulty in your life as possible.
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