While this question might be broad, it allows your lawyer to discuss all of your options. Your lawyer can discuss the benefits of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, as well as options other than bankruptcy that you may not have considered yourself. This overview may provide you with a clearer understanding of the pros and cons of filing bankruptcy.
Who will actually be handling my case?
In some cases, the lawyer you consult with will not actually be handling your case. It is important to know who will handle your case and also whether this person is a lawyer. In many consumer bankruptcy “mill” practices, a non-lawyer performs the majority of the work on your case.
How much of your time is devoted to bankruptcy cases?
Though some lawyers have 20 years of experience, they may only work on two or three bankruptcy cases a year. Therefore, they will not be as experienced as lawyers who work bankruptcy exclusively for much shorter periods of time. Bankruptcy laws have recently changed so it is important to know that your lawyer is familiar with these new laws.
How much do you charge for your services?
This might seem like an obvious question to ask initially but there are benefits to waiting until the end of the consultation. First of all, you can evaluate all of the other services the lawyer plans to provide. Many of the consumer bankruptcy “mills” advertise a low price but their services are very limited and exclude many of the customary services. Thus, your fee will increase exponentially to file your case. Also, it is important to know if there are any other expenses that may be incurred during the process that may be charged to you. With a lawyer, as with so many other goods and services, you get what you pay for.
Randy M. Creighton, Esq.