How can I find a legitimate bankruptcy attorney? 20 Answers as of April 18, 2011

How do I know a bankruptcy attorney is not going to just rip me off like everybody else. How much do they cost because they are saying different things?

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Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
You ask a very valid question. Just like the bad doctors, bad government officials, bad plumbers, and so on, that you hear about on a daily basis, so too are there bad bankruptcy attorneys - very bad attorneys. To help determine who you should hire, there's nothing better than a face to face meeting. The cost of service does vary greatly from area to area. You don't want to get ripped off, but cheapest is not always best. Also, experience means number of cases and clients helped, not gray hair or how large an office the attorney has. These are just a few things to consider.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 4/18/2011
The Law Offices of Alan M. Laskin
The Law Offices of Alan M. Laskin | Jared B. Gaynor
Different attorneys charge different amounts, based on their experience and the current market. First thing to do is to check with the State Bar and see if the attorney you are looking at hiring is actively licensed and in good standing. Also, you can simply check on the internet for reviews.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/17/2011
Ferguson & Ferguson
Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
Talk to two or three before you hire anyone. The fees are usually very close to the same. Do not hire based on television. They treat you as a number and often don't know who you are when you get to court.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Alabama. Responses are based solely on Alabama law unless stated otherwise.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 4/17/2011
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
In Memphis Tennessee the filing fee is $299.00 and that is stardard across the country. If this is personal bankruptcy I charge $750.00 Attorney Fees. If a business Bankruptcy then I charge $1500.00 Attorney Fees. Many Attorneys in this area charge up to $2500.00. Bankruptcy Lawyers need the names and addresses of all creditors.
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 4/17/2011
Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed
Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed | Robert Weed
No guarantee but you should start with someone who is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 4/15/2011
    Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
    Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
    BK attorneys charge different fees. Check out various online sites for attorney ratings and endorsements.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/15/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    Each attorney can charge you whatever that attorney wants to charge you and if you don't like the amount you can go to another attorney or handle the case yourself. This is a free, capitalist country so lawyers like contractors, doctors, dentists and everyone else can set their own rates. Therefore, you will find that different lawyers will quote you different fees for similar services. Each lawyer has to estimate how much work and responsibility each case will require and then quote a fee for that service depending on what the lawyer wants to charge per hour depending on that lawyers experience.

    I do not know your definition of a rip off but if you think all attorneys rip off people then don't hire a lawyer and represent yourself. While unfortunately there are some bad lawyers, like there are some bad doctors, dentists, engineers, real estate agents, etc., that is a rare exception and usually those people lose their licenses and some even go to jail. Attorneys have to obtain a bachelor degre, pass a very tough exam to get into law school and then attend law school for at least three years to get a doctor in jurisprudence degree. After that lawyers have to pass the toughest examination of any professional which is called the Bar Exam. Before being licensed a lawyer must submit fingerprints and prove excellent moral character. The main reason for the bad reputation of lawyers is that lawyers are willing and required by the rules of ethics to represent even the worst people in our society, such as murderers, liars, cheaters, wife-beaters, child molesters, etc.

    Some people can't help blaming the lawyer for what the client has done and that makes the lawyers an easy target for jokes. However, the integrity of our system of justice depends on everyone, including the most vile individuals in our society, having competent legal representation but it is everyone's right to decline legal representation and represent himself/herself no matter how foolish that may be. To to answer your question about what lawyers are "legitimate": all lawyers are legitimate if they are licensed to practice law and in good standing with the State Bar. You can go to the State Bar website and check the record of any California lawyer. Obviously if a lawyer has a bad record with the State Bar then you should stay away from that particular lawyer since he or she is probably the one bad apple in the barrel you do not want to hire (if you decide to get a lawyer after all).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/15/2011
    Uriarte & Wood, Attorneys at Law
    Uriarte & Wood, Attorneys at Law | Robert G. Uriarte
    It is best to get a referral from someone who used an attorney and was satisfied with the service. If you need help, call me I am an AV rated lawyer and a former Chapter 7 trustee and charge a fair price.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/15/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Center
    Bankruptcy Law Center | Bill Zurinskas
    I am a bankruptcy attorney practicing in Fort Collins, Longmont and Boulder, Colorado, so my answer generally applies to a search for a Colorado Bankruptcy attorney. If you go to my website and click on "choosing an attorney", I actually show you how to find a reputable bankuptcy attorney in great detail. The first thing you do to check out an bankruptcy attorney is do a search in the attorney regulating body records in your state. For example, in researching a Colorado bankruptcy lawyer, just google, yahoo, bing ,etc "Colorado Supreme Court" and click on "Search", then type in the attorney's name. You can find out when the attorney was licensed in the state (admission date), whether or not the attorney is still licensed and in good standing, whether or not the attorney was disciplined or had their license suspended. You can also find out whether the attorney carries malpractice insurance. Almost all reputable attorneys carry professional liability insurance. Many who don't carry insurance are uninsurable due to past malpractice claims agianst them. So beware. You can also do a Google, Bing, Yahoo. etc. search by simply searching the attorney's name and find out whether or not they have been sued or received any reviews.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/15/2011
    California's Largest Family of Attorneys
    California's Largest Family of Attorneys | Doan Law Firm
    When choosing a bankruptcy attorney, experience matters. Ensure that they have been practicing bankruptcy at least since the laws changed in 2005. Also, verify that the firm use is registered with the BBB and scores at least an A if not A+. Check out their website. If their good, they will have testimonials listed. The litmus test will be the initial consultation. It should be free with no obligation. You should feel extremely comfortable with the firm during and after the consult. If all of this comes together, you're likely in good hands!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/15/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Finding a qualified bankruptcy attorney is a fairly simple procedure. You can always contact your local bar association for a referral to a qualified bankruptcy attorney (or if you are in my area, you can contact me). As for cost, it will vary depending upon which chapter you are filing for and what you want in terms of services.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/15/2011
    Law Office of Eric Ridley
    Law Office of Eric Ridley | Eric Ridley
    I would be surprised at any attorney who rips you off; they are putting their license on the line by doing so. Check with your state bar to make sure they are currently licensed, and ask them about their experience. Fees vary. For a chapter 7, expect to pay $1000 to $2000 plus fees to the Court ($299). For a Ch 13, expect to pay the attorney $3000 or so.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/15/2011
    Burnham & Associates
    Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
    Good question. Most legitimate attorneys will meet with you in their office and will tell you how much it will cost. For a Chapter 7 attorneys fees are usually between $1000 to $1500 and the filing fee is $299. The best way to pick an attorney is to meet the attorneys and choose the one that answers your questions and makes you feel comfortable.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 4/15/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    Picking one is always a hard call. The most expensive is not necessarily the best. How long the lawyer has been handling bankruptcy cases is important, especially of you are looking at Chapter 11 or 13. Since the economy took a dump many lawyers have jumped in the field, and quite frankly some of them do not know what they are doing. Ask how many 13's or 11's they have done. If they belong to the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), that is a good sign.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/15/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    Check the attorneys credentials. Each state has a state bar so you can check the status of the attorneys license. Ask the attorney about their qualifications. How many years have they practiced bankruptcy law? Does he/she practice other types of law, or do they specialize in bankruptcy only? What bankruptcy organizations do they belong to?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/27/2010
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
    The best way to find an attorney, is typically through personal referral and interviews. The cost will vary from attorney to attorney, and also vary if you qualify for a Chapter 7 versus a Chapter 13.

    Please let me know if you have any further questions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/27/2010
    Greifendorff Law Offices, PC
    Greifendorff Law Offices, PC | Christine Wilton
    I am a legitimate bankruptcy attorney, Christine Wilton. You can check the state bar website to be sure the attorney is licensed, You can also check to be sure your bankruptcy attorney is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, and here in the Central District of California we have our local group called the Central District Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys Association. Membership in these organizations is a strong indicator that your bankruptcy lawyer is dedicated to protecting your rights through bankruptcy. Attorneys fees will vary; it's good to call around. Also be sure you like who you're working with because you're paying them to do a job for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/27/2010
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