At the height of the Great Recession in 2009, more than 1.4 million people filed for bankruptcy protection. While the U.S. economy struggled to regain a foothold, that number actually increased the following year. Almost 1.6 million citizens filed for protection in federal courts in 2010, according to statistics released by the US Courts Administrative Office.
Although deposits have been declining in recent times, tens of millions of Americans are constantly at risk of being overwhelmed with debt. Not surprisingly, lawyers who work in this field are in high demand. In this article, we'll discuss exactly what these legal professionals do and how they can keep you from losing everything.
But before you start, no one wants to file for bankruptcy. While it's pretty common, ranking is an incredibly nasty process. This is also a public admission of failure, which is why few Americans willingly do so.
Why contact a lawyer?
Because the US Bankruptcy Code is incredibly complicated, people who are considering filing for protection should call a qualified bankruptcy lawyer. Yes, a person can represent themselves in court, but it is rarely a good idea. Lawyers spend years studying the dense language of the US tax code before rising to court. A neophyte cannot compete. It is also important to note that if you make a single mistake on your application or if you file it incorrectly, your case could be summarily dismissed.
What to look for in a bankruptcy lawyer
To begin with, the lawyer should be considerate enough to offer a free consultation. After all, you are asking for protection because you cannot pay your bills. Paying consultation fees on top of what you will be charged for your case is a waste of money. Fortunately, most of the best lawyers in the business offer free initial meetings. It is also best to speak to several lawyers before making your decision.
Experience is the most important consideration when searching for a bankruptcy lawyer. In other words, he or she must specialize in bankruptcy law. As we have mentioned, the code that governs this area of legal practice is extremely complicated, and a lawyer who does not specialize in this area may not be able to compete with those who do. It's also important to contact a professional in your area, as different states and regions may have different laws.
An experienced legal advisor should also be an excellent negotiator. Since most of these cases are settled, it is important to question the success of a future lawyer in negotiating favorable terms with specific examples.
Last but not least, it is important to consider the hourly rate. As most cases are time consuming, clients can end up owing a fortune if the lawyer charges a high rate. Therefore, it is always a good idea to ask for a rough estimate of costs before agreeing to anything. If you can afford the fees and the lawyer seems to know their stuff, you may have found your solution.