5 Tips for Choosing the Right Bankruptcy Attorney


Filing a bankruptcy is a big life choice.  As I have written in previous posts it is not nearly as scary as people assume it to be.  That said, it is important to choose an attorney who knows what they are doing and who has a reputation for good client advocacy.  You don’t want to get stuck with someone who won’t return your phone calls, is rude, or who gets disbarred after they start taking your money.  What follows are some tips for choosing a good bankruptcy attorney.

  1. You can find attorneys with bankruptcy expertise by using the attorney finder function of www.nacba.org.  NACBA is the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.  Attorneys that you find on this site have paid dues to the organization which I believe shows that they are committed to the bankruptcy field.  You want an attorney who files bankruptcies regularly, not once or twice a year.
  2. Another good source is your local bar association.  Contact your local bar association and see if they have a referral service.  Referral services generally require attorneys to have 5 years of experience in the field you are looking into.  They also often require that their attorneys they refer clients to have completed continuing education courses in the field you are looking for.
  3. Ask around about the attorneys reputation.  If you do not know anyone who has used them, look online.  Attorneys are rated by www.avvo.com.  While their methodology may not be perfect, (for example, you might have a great attorney with 20 years experience who has a rating of 7.0, on the other hand you might have one with 2 years experience with a 10.0.)  I am not sure how accurate the ratings are, but you can at least see if they have any reports of misconduct.
  4. Go to a free consultation.  Most bankruptcy attorneys will offer you 30-60 minutes of their time to figure out if you are a good candidate for bankruptcy and to determine how complex your case is.  This really serves an additional purpose of helping you to determine if it is someone you would be comfortable working with.  Some attorneys do charge a consultation fee.  If this is the case with the attorney you want to meet ask them if they apply that fee to the overall attorney’s fee.  Even if they do charge an additional fee for the consult, it may be worth it if their reputation is sterling.
  5. Ultimately, make the decision using all the information at your disposal.  If they were referred by a reputable source, if they have a good reputation, and if the fee is something you are comfortable paying, be confident in your choice to go forward and provide your attorney all of the information that ask for.  If you have done this, chances are your case will go smooth.

Best of Luck,

Steven M. Palmer, Esq.
Licensed in WA and OH


11 thoughts on “5 Tips for Choosing the Right Bankruptcy Attorney

  1. Contacting a local bar association seems like a great tip for choosing a bankruptcy lawyer. I’m glad that I know that now that I need a lawyer. I’ve been struggling with figuring out how to file for bankruptcy, so I need legal help. That will make it easier to know what kind of bankruptcy will fit my situation and the forms that I need to fill out. Thanks for the tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had no idea that most bankruptcy attorneys will offer a free consultation. That’s really nice! My husband and I are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, but we’re not quite sure yet. Before we make a decision, we’ll definitely be sure to talk to some attorneys, and see what they say. Hopefully they can point us in the right direction!


  3. That’s really cool that there is a database of bankruptcy attorneys online! I’m glad that this is made so accessible. I have a family member that has been struggling financially and recently told me that he’s considering filing for bankruptcy but didn’t know how to proceed. I’ll encourage him to look at that site and try to set up a free consultation!


  4. I like your idea of contacting a bar association in your area. I never knew that these companies require a lawyer to have 5 years of experience before they will refer them, so that’s a plus, in my opinion. This sounds like a great option because you get to find a lot of options in your area, and not just any ones, lawyers with verified experience. We’ll have to try that out and see if it helps in our search.


  5. It is so crucial that your bankruptcy attorney has experience. While new attorneys undoubtedly have talent, the expertise that comes with experience can mean the difference between an ideal outcome and a mediocre one. Doing your homework will pay off when your case is discharged and you are debt free!


  6. I really liked the suggestion to assess an attorney’s reputation by looking at reviews online. I have also heard that asking for references of past clients from an attorney could be helpful too. I know I’d feel more comfortable working with an attorney that has a good reputation built up from firsthand testimonials of past clients and online reviews.


  7. My brother has been having some financial issues. He is unable to pay some of his bills, so he’s looking for a good bankruptcy lawyer to help him. I didn’t realize your local bar association is a great place to get good recommendation for a lawyer. I’ll be sure to share this info with my brother.


  8. Thank you so much for talking about how you can always look online for ratings when looking for a reputable bankruptcy attorney. It is important to remember that taking the time to consult with several firms can help you find the lawyer that has the best reputation and experience with cases like yours. My brother is facing bankruptcy and wants to make sure he finds a professional who can help him and get the right documents for this process.


  9. I liked your advice about going to a free consultation. If I was considering bankruptcy I would want to talk to a professional about it. Mainly, because I don’t know much about what it installs. So, it does seem like a good thing to do if you are like me.


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