How to Choose a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Let's say you've decided you need to talk to someone about bankruptcy. How do you pick a lawyer?  Most of my clients have found me in one of three ways. They look in the phone book, they search online, or they get a recommendation from someone they trust.

 If you haven't gotten a recommendation, look in the phone book or online. Search for "bankruptcy lawyers" near you. Write down a few names. Look for someone who advertises themselves as handling bankruptcy. Look at their website. What kind of impression does it give you? Is it professional?  

Call these lawyers and say you are interested in bankruptcy.  See how you're treated on the phone.  Does the lawyer call you back, or do you get sent to their assistant? Are they polite? Do they make you feel comfortable?  Do they answer the questions you have? Be suspicious of any lawyer that quotes you a firm fee over the phone.  How can they know what to charge if they don't know your entire situation? Most lawyers will want to meet you before giving you a firm quote.  

Make an appointment with the lawyer you felt most comfortable with.  At your meeting, think about whether they answer all your questions and take the time to learn your entire story.  If you leave with a bad feeling, try someone else.  You can't always judge a lawyer by how many years they've been practicing, how many cases they've handled, or how low a fee they quote.  You have to feel comfortable with them and confident that they will work hard on your behalf.