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Posted By AUTHOR Michael Cibik, Esq. on 04/20/2018

What Characteristics Should I Look for in a Bankruptcy Attorney?

What Characteristics Should I Look for in a Bankruptcy Attorney?

It is estimated that in the US, each year, at least hundreds of thousands of people file for bankruptcy, in 2016 the number was 800,000. Being a specialized area, it is a field that requires specialist knowledge. Hence proper legal advice matters if you are deciding to file for bankruptcy.

The decision to file for bankruptcy is a serious issue requiring expert guidance to resolve the matter in the best possible manner. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you through the complex process. At the same time, just because you are desperate and helpless, try not to hire the first lawyer you talk to.

We’ve put together the 7 factors that you should be looking for when you are choosing a lawyer to help with your bankruptcy case.


Expertise: An in-depth knowledge of bankruptcy law is one of the primary requisites for a bankruptcy lawyer. They should also be updated on all new amendments in their field of expertise. For example, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, was a major reform for the industry.  It is not as if your case may be affected by the legislation. But your lawyer should be knowledgeable about all the aspects of bankruptcy law to be able to help you.


Experience: Merely choosing a lawyer with two decades of experience or more might not help in bankruptcy cases. Your lawyer should have specific experience in bankruptcy. You should find out how many years they have worked in the industry and also the number of bankruptcy cases they have handled.

You should also, ask about the different Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases they have worked on. You need an attorney who is experienced in handling both types, because you may either need one or even both.


Fees: Generally, the cost varies between $1,000 and $3,000. But again, the lawyer fee depends on various factors. Different cases have different requirements and each case is handled in a specific manner. If the attorney you have got in touch with, gives you a flat figure over the phone, then not calling that lawyer again is probably a good idea.

A good lawyer will hear you out, understand your case, give you a detailed view on how to go about and then give you an estimate. Also, if a lawyer quotes a fee much lower than the general going rate, then it could mean he or his firm is just starting out and that they want a case to work on. Their motivation might not be in your best interest.


Reputation: A reputed lawyer will ensure your reputation in case you file for bankruptcy. There are many ways to find such a lawyer. Of course, referrals would be good.

Look for attorneys who are active on social media because it would mean, they are enthusiastic about their job and want to stay connected with clients. You could also check with Better Business Bureau to ensure there aren’t any complaints against your lawyer for being dubious or incompetent.

Also, note that some clients may badmouth their lawyers if the outcome was not in their favor. Thus, investigate sensibly.


Practical: A good lawyer is one who looks out for his client’s best interest. Your lawyer should be able to give you practical solutions rather than follow the same route.

For example, just suggesting that you go for Chapter 7 bankruptcy so that your debts will be discharged completely may not be the right solution for your case.  Your lawyer should study your case and give you alternate provisions so that you can choose one that will also prove to be a solution for your encompassing financial issues.


Passion: As in any other profession, this is a field that requires passion at every step. Bankruptcy lawyers have to be passionate about their work because that is how they can remain ahead of their game. If your lawyer seems lazy or too impatient to answer your queries or has no time to meet with you when required, that is a definite red flag.


Easy relationship: Finally, you can work with someone only if you share an easy camaraderie with the person. You should be able to communicate comfortably with your lawyer who in turn needs to have a patient ear as well as a kind outlook.


When you’re looking for the best Philadelphia bankruptcy lawyer, make sure they tick on the maximum number of the listed factors. Cibik & Cataldo can help you with your bankruptcy case. If you’re looking for a free consultation, give our offices a call at 215-515-5955 to talk to one of our bankruptcy lawyers.

This article first appeared on my blog.

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