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Free Consultation: Signs of Good/Bad Attorneys?

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Free Consultation: Signs of Good/Bad Attorneys?

Self explanatory really. I know your gut feeling and awareness always come into play but sometimes that is not enough. When meeting during consultations, what are some signs of an attorney being a good one for your case and what are some signs of one being an attorney to stay clear of on your case?
Message 1 of 9
8 REPLIES 8
Valued Contributor

Re: Free Consultation: Signs of Good/Bad Attorneys?

We researched and I settled on one that did everything!  Ours provided us quarterly credit score updates along with yearly for the first 2 years, included any additional filing or action should any creditors try to file anything and was committed to anything BK related until the full 10 years was over.  I have had to cal throughout the duration of our BK after discharge and all of this was included.  Look for one that continues to offer services until the BK is off your report in the 7/10 yrs. 

Good Luck

Message 2 of 9
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Contributor

Re: Free Consultation: Signs of Good/Bad Attorneys?

Gut feeling was the main thing, but otherwise I’d say look for one that’s organized and thorough. They should ask you tons of questions about your income, finances, and overall situation. If you feel like they’re trying to push you into a ch13 without going over all of your info I’d be hesitant right there. There’s a difference between talking to one who feels like you’re talking to a car salesman versus if several of them corroborate the idea that a ch7 isn’t possible. Also they shouldn’t try to rush the meeting; you should get 30min to an hour that’s all yours. After meeting with 2 or 3 you’ll get an idea of which one suits your needs. If not just keep looking until you find someone you’re comfortable with.
Message 3 of 9
Contributor

Re: Free Consultation: Signs of Good/Bad Attorneys?


@JTC-137 wrote:
Gut feeling was the main thing, but otherwise I’d say look for one that’s organized and thorough. They should ask you tons of questions about your income, finances, and overall situation. If you feel like they’re trying to push you into a ch13 without going over all of your info I’d be hesitant right there. There’s a difference between talking to one who feels like you’re talking to a car salesman versus if several of them corroborate the idea that a ch7 isn’t possible. Also they shouldn’t try to rush the meeting; you should get 30min to an hour that’s all yours. After meeting with 2 or 3 you’ll get an idea of which one suits your needs. If not just keep looking until you find someone you’re comfortable with.

So you are saying an attorney shouldn't look at your income and automatically assume you are 13?  They should spend adequate time with you and correctly assess your situation?

Message 4 of 9
Contributor

Re: Free Consultation: Signs of Good/Bad Attorneys?

Correct, though they could still be right. The first attorney i spoke with did exactly that and said ch13 was the only option. Completely ignored my spreadsheet of financials. The 2nd attorney took his time to review my spreadsheet and asked questions. Got a ch7 with no problem. It’s definitely situation specific but you want the attorney to at least take the time to review everything.
Message 5 of 9
Frequent Contributor

Re: Free Consultation: Signs of Good/Bad Attorneys?

From an attorney's point of view:

 

1. You meet with 3 or 4 (or more) for opinions. Initial consultations are usually free. For each attorney you check with the State Bar to make sure that person has no disciplinary issues and carries malpractice insurance. (The State Bar of Arizona's “attorney look” up clearly discloses if the attny does or does not have insurance. My guess is that other State Bars do the same.)

 

2. You choose the one you are most comfortable with, not the one that is the cheapest.

 

3. Each time you meet with an attny, learn something. Build on that “something” with the next attny.

 

In the end, you hire the one your gut tells you is the most knowledgeable and best suited for your particular needs. Only you can pick the “winner”.

 

As to what they will or will not do after your case is over. . . One poster suggested that his/her attny will continue to represent him/her even 7 years down the road (long after the case is over). I tend to doubt that.

 

The Bankruptcy Code ( 11 USC 528) requires an attny to supply you with a Fee Agreement within 5 business days after your initial consultation if you are a “assisted person”.  Section 101 defines an “assisted person” as one whose debts consist primarily of consumer debts, and whose non-exempt assets fall below a certain dollar amount.   Regardless of the Bankruptcy Code, most, if not all, State Bars require an attorney to supply a Fee Agreement to their clients.  Read the Fee Agreement carefully.  It should tell you when the representation ends and exactly what the representation includes.

 

The Fee Agreement my Firm uses clearly states that the representation ends upon either the entry of a Discharge, the entry of a Dismissal, or by Court Order granting a Motion to Withdraw, whichever happens first. It further clearly states that the representation does not include any adversary proceeding which requires a separate hourly agreement if the client chooses to hire the Firm and the Firm agrees to the representation.

 

No attorney in his or her right mind is going to continue a representation after the case is over unless such is clearly part of the Fee Agreement.  For my Firm, if an old client contacts me with a bankruptcy related issue, I will attempt to assist if I can. If it is a simply inquiry such is done without additional cost. If it is a major issue that is outside the scope of the fee agreement, the client will have to pay for my services under a new fee agreement.   Unfortunately, one of the misconceptions clients may have is that their attorney remains there attorney until one of them dies. That is just not the case.

 

Remember, you need to do your own due diligence when seeking out any professional. The decision to “hire” is up to you.

 

Des.

Message 6 of 9
Senior Contributor

Re: Free Consultation: Signs of Good/Bad Attorneys?

Just to add. Google Board Certified BK Lawyers in your area. I did this and found one 3 miles from me and he was A1! Just like MD's. Board Certified is top notch.





My posts are JMHO. I DO NOT claim to be a FICO expert. Just sharing my experiences from rebuild to recovery after BK DC. My siggy is not to brag at all. Just to show fellow members what can be accomplished when you do it right and play the FICO Credit Game.
Message 7 of 9
Contributor

Re: Free Consultation: Signs of Good/Bad Attorneys?

I'm not seeing any board certified attorneys in my area. Is that normal?
Message 8 of 9
Valued Contributor

Re: Free Consultation: Signs of Good/Bad Attorneys?


 

As to what they will or will not do after your case is over. . . One poster suggested that his/her attny will continue to represent him/her even 7 years down the road (long after the case is over). I tend to doubt that.


To infer that a person has no clue what their agreement is with their attorney is a pretty bold statement to make- even if you ARE an attorney.  As I am the one that clearly knows what my agreement was/is I shared it as a reference to get the OP to ask what else would be included for their fee.  While your professional intentions might be good, I find them to be in poor taste here.  Just because you or your FIRM do not offer this type of service, it does not mean it is not offered.   The additional condescending tone at the end of your summary is a bit much as well. 

 

Message 9 of 9
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