In Rhode Island, there almost 5,900 lawyers for a population of 1,050,788 people. We could easily fill the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) to capacity . . . . . . TWICE.
If you needed to file bankruptcy in Rhode Island, could you imagine standing on the stage of PPAC trying to figure out which lawyer in the crowd was the ideal choice?
Bottom line: there is no shortage of lawyers willing to take your bankruptcy case.
So, where do you begin? Do you call the lawyer with the biggest bankruptcy advertisement, or do you take the bargain-basement lawyer who advertises on place-mats at your favorite Chinese restaurant?
Here is a better approach. Go for the most experienced lawyer you can afford.
Just as you would not hire a dentist whose only tools were pliers and a bucket, neither should you hire a bankruptcy lawyer without first seeing if he has the tools necessary to represent you.
Here are just a few questions to ask:
- Is he really just a general practice lawyer? I believe a debtor is best represented by an attorney who devotes his entire practice to bankruptcy.
- How long has he been practicing bankruptcy law? If he just changed his personal injury law firm to a “bankruptcy boutique” last week, you should know.
- How many bankruptcy cases has he personally handled? Would you feel better knowing he has handled a few cases like yours, or a few hundred cases like yours?
- Who will do most of the work? Does he just spend 30 minutes with you on the initial consultation then his secretary takes over? Are you filling out lengthy questionnaires with little to no access to the attorney?
- Who will represent you at the creditor’s meeting? Will you be disappointed if an attorney you’ve never spoken to before represents you at your hearing, because the lawyer you hired is too busy to attend?
- Are his fees comparable to what other experienced bankruptcy lawyers are charging? Not too low, not too high.
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer will save you money by avoiding costly mistakes and offer you the peace of mind in knowing that your case is handled properly and professionally.