Here are 5 reasons that will make you want to run from your bankruptcy consultation and find another lawyer. The purpose of consultation is to decide if the attorney is right for you, and you are right for the bankruptcy attorney. This is a list of 5 items you should watch for to decide if the attorney is not only right for you, but right for anybody else:
You are told to sit in the lawyer’s office and watch a video.
I bet you’ve done a lot of work to determine exactly which attorney you would like to see for your consultation. You’ve contacted his office. You probably have collected a number of documents. He may have asked you to bring things with you. It is a lot of work getting ready for a bankruptcy consultation. How would you feel if once you arrived you were put in front of the television set and told to watch a video? This is exactly what some attorneys do. If they lack the communication skills to speak with you, how will they speak to the bankruptcy trustee and the court?
The interview is with the paralegal.
Walking into the attorney’s office only to find out you will be speaking with the paralegal is almost as bad is being told to sit down and watch a video. Unless I am unavoidably detained I can think of nothing more important than sitting down with you at this most important meeting. In fact, if I am unavailable to meet with you, I will call you in advance, to give you the opportunity to reschedule the appointment. Some attorneys do not think this way. Apparently, they think their time is more valuable than yours.
The lawyer wants money before you even talk with him.
This goes hand-in-hand with the idea of a consultation fee. If an attorney requests money from you in advance before he would even discuss your financial situation get out of there quickly. He apparently does not understand the law with regard to representing clients in bankruptcy cases. In order to have an attorney-client relationship in a bankruptcy case, it is necessary to have a written fee agreement. Without such an agreement it is improper, and probably illegal for the attorney to charge you any type of fee. This is clearly a bad sign.
The lawyer only handles chapter 7 cases.
It is a fact. Chapter 13 cases are difficult. These cases require the bankruptcy attorney to possess very specific and specialized knowledge. There are still a number of attorneys out there who only handle chapter 7 cases. In the era of bankruptcy reform certain circumstances may either require, or make a chapter 13 case more preferable to your situation. An attorney who does not understand can put you into a chapter 7, and put your personal assets and livelihood at risk. It is very important you have an attorney who understands the full range of consumer bankruptcy alternatives.
After looking at your pay stubs, the attorney tells you chapter 13 is your only option.
The attorney is using a means test calculator to determine whether or not you qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy case. He does not have an understanding of the workings of the means test. The income portion of the test is part one. If your annualized income exceeds your state’s median income it does not disqualify you from filing a chapter 7. It is just necessary to complete the rest of the means test. I still have Lorain County bankruptcy attorneys who refer their clients to me to file a chapter 13 because the clients have excess income. After working the means test properly, I am often able to file a chapter 7 as the client desires.
The whole idea of finding the right Lorain County bankruptcy attorney to help with your debts is a scary process. You need to find someone with whom you are comfortable and who makes the process as painless and stress-free as possible. These 5 reasons to run screaming from your bankruptcy attorney consultation are intended as a guide to help you in making the correct Lorain County bankruptcy lawyer choice.
Have you had a difficult or a plain bad experience at a bankruptcy consultation? If so, why not share your thoughts with a comment?