I've found bankruptcy attorneys have a wide range of prices. From seeing signs hanging on telephone poles advertising BKs for $999.00 to people here posting they paid anywhere from $1500 to $2500+. They say you get what you pay for and it's usually not good to go with the cheapest quote (this applies to many things). So what makes one BK attorney better than the others and what are the important questions to ask to make sure you get one that will do what needs to be done?
And taking this a step further, what would be considered a bad BK attorney? Thinking back to my divorce, my ex-wife had a great attorney. She was a professional, Grade A liar. I should have known my outcome wasn't going to be good when I interviewed the attorney I hired when she said "I'm not going to go in there and lie". She got steamrolled! That was a learning experience for me.
@masscredit, I filed a Chapter 13, which as I understand it, costs more than a Chapter 7, with that out of the way, I paid about $4,500 in 2015 up here in New Hamster.
As for what made me comfortable with her, I guess a few things stand out:
Compared to the four other attorneys I interviewed, there really was no comparison, I happily paid the $1,000 premium she was asking over the other lawyers.
Basically what makes one attorney better over another on any given area of practice. Experience, reputation, dedication, etc etc...
In my case my attorney thou he was young, he dedicates to nothing but BKs so he knew exactly what the trustees would ask and hammered me with questions left and right so when we got to the creditors meeting there was really not much to ask me.
He also met with me a few days prior to prepareme for the meeting and walked me thru the entire process.
I had no issues with the bankruptcy lawyer I had. It was like perfect timing when I got that card in the mail from the company I went with and the payment plan was fairly reasonable. I went with a firm called Clark and Washington. I had considered Upright Law prior but eh, I think it all worked out in my favor.
I filed pro-se via upsolve.org. If you don't have student loans or anything too complicated like a messy divorce then it's free and easy to do online. You only pay the filing fee through the court which you can get waived if you qualify or have limited income. At the time I filed I wasn't working so I literally paid $0 for my entire bankruptcy. They send everything to your local courthouse and assign you the trustee, they set up a 411. And your notified of everything via your account. The more complicated your case though, the more I would suggest getting a lawyer.
I know when I was searching for a BK lawyer, they all had different prices and one of them was significantly lower than the rest, when I brought this up to a different lawyer he said that usually it just depends on what the lawyer wants for filing all the paperwork and doing all the work, experience level and some want more and some are okay with making less. I would just check the reviews and go with one that is reputable.
So, from what I'm reading, this can be done with an attorney or pro-se. When I comes to an attorney, it's best to find one that specializes in bankruptcys. But, a person can do it all on their own. I'm guessing with that, it's a lot more work for the person who is filing. And there could be certain ways things should be done that a person won't know about.
For something like this, i rather have an attorney with experience represent me. I provide all of the documents required and then just be there for the meeting. I think my BK will be fairly basic (about 15 credit cards, two cars - one paid off and one with a loan about equal to the value), no property or investments.
Are there any specific questions that should be asked when interviewing attorneys that will help seperate the good from the average/bad?
It's a 2014 Hyundai that is worth about $6500. As for other assets, normal furniture and electronics (a computer and couple of TVs). All of that is at least 2 years old. No collectables, sports or yard equipment. I think the only thing that stands out is I have about 130 t-shirts.
Yeah, the car may be an issue as it has enough value to make it a delicious target to sell from the Trustee's perspective, speaking with an attorney is strongly advised.
The good news is I think your Tee-Shirts are safe.