The tiny state of Rhode Island is home to 5,878 licensed attorneys. With a population of only 1,050,788, Rhode Island has one lawyer for every 178 people.
Did you know that an attorney is licensed in the general practice of law? With only a few exceptions, any lawyer can represent any matter he pleases, whether it be a murder case, a speeding ticket, or a bankruptcy case. With tough economic conditions affecting the legal profession, many lawyers are doing just that: reinventing themselves as bankruptcy lawyers. You will find no shortage of lawyers willing to take your Rhode Island bankruptcy case. Advertisements for bankruptcy lawyers are everywhere. The question is, however, which RI bankruptcy lawyer should you hire?
The answer is simple: Get the best experienced bankruptcy lawyer you can afford.
The key is finding a lawyer who concentrates his practice exclusively doing bankruptcy work. Just because a lawyer will take a bankruptcy case doesn’t mean he has experience in the field of bankruptcy law. Just as you wouldn’t hire a dentist with only pliers and a bucket for tools, you don’t want to hire an inexperienced lawyer to represent you in the Rhode Island bankruptcy court.
Here are just a few questions to ask:
- What areas of law does he practice in addition to bankruptcy law? A debtor is best represented by an attorney who devotes his entire practice to RI bankruptcy law.
- How long has he been practicing bankruptcy law? If he changed his personal injury law firm into a “bankruptcy boutique” just last week, you have the right to know.
- How many bankruptcy cases has he personally handled? Would you feel better knowing he has handled only a few cases like yours, or a few hundred?
- Who will do most of the work? Does he spend just 30 minutes with you on the initial consultation before letting his secretary takes over? If he has you filling out lengthy questionnaires without spending much time with you himself, you should be concerned. You may be at a “bankruptcy mill.”
- 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 that comes from knowing that your case has been handled properly and professionally.