Struggling to Sort Through Bankruptcy Attorneys in Oak Park, MI?
Every now and then we get contacted by people that want to sell their homes after going through a bankruptcy.
Many of them claim to have hired an attorney that they felt wasn’t a good fit for
So I made this point after doing some research, to hopefully help you find the right one for you.
“An Attorney is an Attorney, Right?”
Hiring the wrong attorney to handle your bankruptcy can be a life-altering mistake.
You don’t want to just hire anybody.
Bankruptcy is too big of a deal to just hire anybody.
1. Beware: Sharks in the Water
Because of the financial situation of a lot of people here in Metro Detroit, there’s been an influx of sharks that have set-up bankruptcy shops to try to profit from other’s misfortunes.
The sad part, is that a lot of these shops are ran by people that aren’t as qualified as they need to be.
In-turn, the person facing bankruptcy ends up getting inferior guidance through one of the biggest financial decisions they can face.
2. Move with Tact, But Move Swiftly.
You want to explore your options when you’re looking for a bankruptcy attorney, but you don’t want to take forever in doings so.
If you wait until the last minute, you won’t have the time you need to find the right attorney for you.
If you wait ’till it’s too late, you could end up losing your car, house, and God knows whatever else.
3. Check with Reputable Organizations
Reference organizations like the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
Both of these are good sources to ask for recommendations.
4. Are they Certified?
While it’s not a guarantee, attorneys that are certified might have a little more incentive to do the right thing and work hard for you than others.
Keyword there, is “might.”
But still, it can’t hurt.
American Bankruptcy Institute Certification
You might want to check to see if they’re certified by the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI).
The ABI is a non-profit designed to empower businesses, consumers, as well as the U.S. Congress with non-biased information on bankruptcy.
You might also want to see if they’re a member of NACBA, which is the Nation Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
5. Interview Prospective Attorneys
Again, don’t just hire the first person you see from a Google search.
This is a life-altering event, so you want to make sure you do some research on the attorney you hire.
You might want to initially pursue attorneys that offer free in-person consultations. Not all of them do. You don’t want to have to pay to interview them in person.
Here are a few questions you might want to ask:
- What kind of access will I have to being able to call in or stop by and ask questions throughout the process?
- How many cases do you handle per year/month?
- Who would I be working with primarily? Can I meet the person I’d be potentially communicating with throughout the process if it’s not you (the person you’re initially interviewing)?
Note: Once (and if) you hire that lawyer or law firm, you will probably end up working with a paralegal or a clerk throughout most of the process. So while you’re in their office for the interview, make sure you find and talk to the person you’d be talking with most of the time. In most cases, you won’t work with the actual attorney until your court date.
There’s a bunch of other questions you might want to ask, so you might want to Google something like “questions to ask a bankruptcy attorney.”
I’m sure you’ll find a bunch of other questions you might want to ask during your interview.
6. Notice How their Office Looks
When you go to visit with prospective attorneys, take a glance around their office to get a feel for how organized (or unorganized) it is.
You don’t want an attorney handling your bankruptcy that has crap all over the place because, there’s a good chance that your files would end up scattered all over the place if you became their client, just like what you’re seeing on the visit.
7. Find Out The Going Rate in Oak Park/Oakland County
You don’t want someone who’s going to gouge you or inflate their fees way above the norm.
On the other hand, though, you don’t necessarily want the cheapest lawyer, either.
You can contact the Oakland County Bar Association (Google “Oakland County Bar Association”) and contact them.
They can give you a range of fees you should expect to pay an attorney for helping you through a bankruptcy.
8. Contact Local Debtor/Creditor Committees
You might also want to find out the names of the lawyers that are on the local bankruptcy court’s debtor and creditor committees.
They join these committee’s to gain business for the most part, but on the other hand, attorneys that are on these committee’s tend to take their jobs seriously.
I did a Google search for “Oakland county bankruptcy debtor committee” and found some pretty good leads on finding that information, so you might want to start there.
What advice would you give someone looking for a bankruptcy attorney? Leave a comment below.
Interested in Selling Your House? Click here for a free CASH offer on your house with no obligation.
Or, just give us a call, at 313.454.1190.
13 tips to avoid hiring a bad bankruptcy attorney (via bankrate.com)
When Should You Hire a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Portland? (via attorneys.com)
What is the American Bankruptcy Institute? (via Wisegeek.com)
Ten Tips on choosing a Bankruptcy Lawyer (via allbusiness.com)
3 Tips for Choosing a Bankruptcy Attorney (via goldenbankruptcy.com)