How to Find the Right Bankruptcy Attorney in Southern Illinois & Missouri
The decision to file for bankruptcy is always coupled with the need to hire a reputable, trustworthy bankruptcy attorney. In order to find the right bankruptcy attorney, potential clients should ask themselves the following key questions concerning the lawyers they are considering:
Is the Bankruptcy Attorney Licensed?
In order to legally practice law, an attorney must receive proper licensing from the state bar association. Ensuring that an attorney is licensed safeguards against fraud and other illegal action during and after the case.
Does the Attorney Offer an Initial Consultation Before Taking the Case?
Typically, a trustworthy bankruptcy attorney will request to meet with a potential client to discuss matters before agreeing to take the case. Unless the case is substantially complicated, this initial consultation is usually free of charge.
How Much Experience Does the Attorney Have in Bankruptcy Law?
During the initial bankruptcy consultation, clients should ask as many pertinent questions as possible regarding experience. The lawyer’s answers to the following questions should give an adequate picture of what to expect during case proceedings:
• How many years have you been a practicing bankruptcy attorney?
• How many bankruptcy cases have you managed in the past year?
• Of those cases, what percentage have been successful?
• In what ways do you plant to keep my current assets safe?
• Will you be able to appear in person at my court hearings?
• Who will be in charge of preparing my bankruptcy petition and what is their track record?
• What is my initial obligation if I choose to retain you?
While a paralegal is the person who customarily prepares a bankruptcy petition, law mandates that this work be reviewed by a licensed lawyer and that the lawyer is, in the end, to be held responsible for that petition when it is filed.
What Types of Questions Does the Bankruptcy Lawyer Ask the Client?
The questions that the attorney asks concerning the case are incredibly important to the proceedings of any bankruptcy matter. A good bankruptcy lawyer will ask the following questions in order to better understand the circumstances of each individual case:
• Why did you decide to file for bankruptcy?
• What is your marital status?
• Do you pay any child support, alimony, etc.?
• Are you the owner of any real estate? Is it in foreclosure?
• What is your employment status?
• If you are unemployed, what is the reason and how long have you been out of work?
• What was your reported income for the past two years?
• Do you have any problems with the IRS?
• Are you currently involved in any other legal proceedings?
• Are you the heir to any type of inheritance?
• Does any of your debt consist of student loans?
These questions, in addition to any more that the attorney poses, help build a stronger comprehension of the situation and a more sturdy foundation for the case. Requested documents, such as credit card and bank statements, property titles, loan information and pay stubs, serve as invaluable supplementary data.
What is the Lawyer’s Reputation?
Before deciding to retain any Southern Illinois bankruptcy or Missouri attorney, clients are strongly encouraged to check https://www.pacer.gov/, a federally run site that provides free and instant access to public records. Here, clients can view the number of cases the bankruptcy lawyer has filed and how many of those have been successful. Also, it is extremely easy to search online for any personal reviews and other information concerning lawyers in order to get a better idea of who they are and how they practice.
How Does the Attorney Handle Payment of the Retainer and Other Fees?
Typically, a good bankruptcy lawyer will ask for a retainer that is paid as a separate fee before bankruptcy is officially filed. This is to be paid in the form that the lawyer chooses, but, due to the nature of the case, is usually limited to cash or check. Trustworthy attorneys will not usually accept a check that is post-dated, so clients are warned to be wary of a lawyer who agrees to this method of payment. In addition, lawyers who claim that clients need not pay anything until the case is won often find ways to defraud them when the case is completed.
If a potential bankruptcy lawyer in Southern Illinois or Missouri meets all of these requirements and the client has a positive feeling about their professional connection, it is likely that the partnership will be a prosperous one.
Important Disclaimer: The information discussed above and throughout this website should not be relied upon to make any decisions without first speaking to a bankruptcy attorney. There are many intricate rules of law governing bankruptcy with many exceptions to the general rules that could change the advice given by an attorney based on the differing facts in each person’s special set of circumstances. THEREFORE, it is important to discuss any information contained in this website with one of our attorneys before taking any action or refraining from taking any action.