Bankruptcy fees run the gamut from super low to relatively expensive. Many are competitive but can you find lower? Probably. Now comes the hard part…
What are you getting for your money?
One of life’s lessons is you get what you pay for. Tell me, if you had cancer or a brain tumor, would you want the cheapest doctor or the one with the most experience in what you need?
I am betting you said “experience”.
Law is no different. All attorneys are not equally competent in their fields. Same as there are good and bad doctors, there are good and bad attorneys. Now, just because an attorney charges a lower fee does not mean he or she is incompetent, this is a highly competitive market which works to your favor as the consumer. However, there are many, many attorneys who have never practiced bankruptcy but see consumers like you and see $$$, so they throw their hats in the bankruptcy ring. Are they competent in the bankruptcy field? Not so much.
What are you getting, or losing, by shopping price only? How much money are you really saving if this attorney screws up your case?
When you are shopping for an attorney you need to consider more than just price. Also consider these things:
1. How long have they been practicing bankruptcy law?
Not law in general – bankruptcy. It is its own field and has its own rules and regulations, time limits and requirements. I would want someone who has been doing bankruptcy in your city (make sure they are local attorneys and not imported from other states) for at least 10 years.
2. Do you feel the attorney is competent?
Do they answer all your questions thoughtfully, knowledgeably and thoroughly? Do you feel they can handle any problems that might arise in your case? Did they take their time with you or did they get your money and shoo you out the door? Your consultation should take an hour (at least). Make sure you get it! If you don’t feel like this attorney will do whatever it takes for you, keep looking.
3. Is this attorney personally handling your case or passing you off to a paralegal or another attorney?
There is nothing wrong with other people helping prepare your case but, ideally, the same attorney should be with you start to finish.
4. Last, but not least, make sure they give your their fees IN WRITING at the time of your consultation. Under federal law a retainer agreement is required to be completed on every client an attorney meets with.
So, the moral of my story is, don’t just shop price. Look for an attorney who makes you feel comfortable, secure and taken care of. One who instill confidence in you. This is your financial future, don’t just trust it to anyone. Remember, you get what you pay for.
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