Filing a Bankruptcy can be a challenge and to be successful the decision to hire a bankruptcy attorney is a critical step. Unfortunately, not all attorneys have the experience and knowledge necessary to prepare and file a bankruptcy petition.
As an experienced Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 attorney for over 20 years I have seen first-hand cases where attorneys attempted to assist debtors with their bankruptcy filing with mixed results. Within the last 10 days I have consulted with three separate debtors who had received inadequate, and frankly, incorrect, advice when filing their bankruptcy. While these debtors’ cases may be salvaged with proper help, that is not always the case. There are many attorneys out there practicing bankruptcy law with little experience. This fact underscores two critical issues in deciding to file; seeking accurate legal advice in deciding to file a bankruptcy so that you are informed of your rights and consequences of filing, and, making sure that the advice you receive comes from a competent and experienced Bankruptcy Attorney.
Finding an experienced Bankruptcy Attorney in Arizona can take some time, but the time spent will be an invaluable investment. Some things to do to assist your search are:
1. Look for on-line reviews and read available websites set-up by the prospective attorney’s firm. Some reviews can be very helpful in giving you insight into the manner in which the attorney practices.
2. Contact the State Bar of Arizona. Their web site, https://www.azbar.org/, includes such information as whether that particular attorney is authorized to practice law in the state of Arizona, as well as information such as years of practice, areas of practice, whether the attorney has malpractice insurance and whether there are past and or pending bar complaints against the attorney.
3. When you find two or three prospective attorneys, interview them, don’t just consult them. Ask questions about their experience, what services they are willing to provide, and how much it will cost you to hire them and complete your case. If the attorney is unwilling to meet or speak with you, find an attorney who will. Too many law firms will have you meet with, for lack of a better word, a “salesperson,” for your initial consultation. You may eventually speak with an attorney on that visit, but no real time or analysis of your case will be given to you. In my opinion, you are entitled to more than a “meet and greet.” Don’t settle for less.
Filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a difficult and daunting process to undertake. The benefits of the “fresh start” that a bankruptcy filing can provide you is worth the time it will take to find an experienced bankruptcy attorney who will help file the right bankruptcy case for you. It may take a little more time, but most attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Make sure that consultation is with an attorney and take advantage of such a consultation. You have nothing to lose but your debt.