How To Approach a Free Consultation With a Bankruptcy Attorney
- Free consultations are a great way to find the right attorney for your bankruptcy case.
- In most states, anything you say at the consultation will be confidential.
- The bankruptcy attorney may ask you to bring in your financial records for review.
If you are looking to hire a bankruptcy lawyer, a free consultation is a great way to find the right attorney for your case. It would help if you thought of an initial consultation with a bankruptcy attorney as a job interview where you are the employer. You will be paying the attorney fees. You have the right to ensure the attorney has the skills and expertise to get you the best possible outcome in your bankruptcy proceedings.
At the same time, the attorney must conduct an initial case evaluation to determine if they are qualified to help you. Start by finding a local, experienced bankruptcy attorney.
An initial consultation can mean different things to different bankruptcy lawyers. Get a sense of the meeting before you go in so you will be prepared. Here are some questions that you should consider asking any attorney:
- How long is the free consultation? Attorney consultations can vary in duration. Some attorneys offer free 30-minute or one-hour consultations and charge for any time over. Other attorneys do not put a specific time limit on the session.
- Where is the free consultation? To keep consultations short and time efficient, some attorneys will only conduct free consultations via phone calls or online. However, some clients and some attorneys prefer face-to-face meetings at a law office.
- If I don’t retain you, what happens? In most states, anything you say at the consultation will be confidential. This means they cannot share the details of your conversation, even if you do not hire them. If you have any concerns, ask the attorney about it before going in for your meeting.
- Should I bring anything to the first meeting? The bankruptcy attorney may want you to bring in some financial records, tax notifications, credit card debt statements, medical bills, student loan documents, debt collection notices, or other documentation for the first meeting.
A consultation is not just to see if the lawyer will take your case. As the client, you should also ensure this is the person you want handling your case. There are some questions you can ask to make sure the attorney is the best choice for your personal bankruptcy:
- Will you be the attorney handling my case, or are there other associates?
- How do you bill for bankruptcy? Is it hourly or a flat fee?
- How will you keep me updated about my case during the bankruptcy process?
- If I have questions, how can I contact you to get answers?
- What is your experience in bankruptcy law?
Most clients seek an attorney they trust to do the best job possible in handling their bankruptcy. A free initial consultation should be a productive meeting where you and the attorney can get to know one another and decide if the attorney is a good match.
Bankruptcy can be unfamiliar to most people, but help is available when needed. It is essential to understand the benefits and downsides of filing for bankruptcy.
Ask the attorney which type of bankruptcy is right for your financial situation (Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy with a repayment plan). The bankruptcy code can be complicated, so contact an experienced bankruptcy lawyer who can help you get much-needed debt relief and rebuild your financial future.
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