How do I find an attorney to help me in filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy? 16 Answers as of January 25, 2013

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The Law Office of Marvin Wolf
The Law Office of Marvin Wolf | Marvin Wolf
This is what I do, as do a few other attorneys on this forum. Chapter 13 is very different from Chapter 7 and requires different skills. It's not just filling out paperwork, you can't just learn it from a book, and the best attorneys learned it by doing it with a more experienced attorney over a period of time. Every jurisdiction works differently and an attorney needs to develop a feel for what will pass muster with his local trustees and judges. NJ has three vicinages (districts) and therefore 3 trustees, each of which has their own way of working. You should make sure the attorney has experience in filing Chapter 13 cases, has done this practice for a while, and is familiar with the Chapter 13 trustees and their negotiating style. Ask. It helps if they are a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) or are ABA certified (NJ does not recognize this certification but it means they put some effort into learning the field) or have been part of the NJ Bankruptcy Inn of Court.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 1/25/2013
Debt Relief Law Center | Roger J. Bus
It would be my suggestion you look for an experienced Chapter 13 attorney who has a no-fee initial interview. I would avoid offices that you do not actually see an attorney, interviews are attempted to be done online or via questionnaires you have to fill out, etc. or where an excessive amount is being asked to be paid up front before your Chapter 13 case can be filed. You should be able to get all the information you need up front with no pressure to sign on the spot.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/23/2013
The Michigan Bankruptcy HQ
The Michigan Bankruptcy HQ | Joseph P. Saulski
Look for some who knows what they are doing and has experience. One benefit of a Chapter 13 is that the attorney fees can be put into the Plan and there is minimal up front costs and by payment through the Plan, your creditors (in most situations) end up paying the attorney fee.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/23/2013
Law Office of Michael Johnson
Law Office of Michael Johnson | Michael Johnson
Go online or get a referral. The national consumer bankruptcy attorney website. NACBA.org
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 1/23/2013
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
You may want to do a local search and see a few attorneys to see which one you are most comfortable with. Remember, in a chapter 13, you will be dealing with this attorney for 3 to 5 years, so you want someone you are comfortable with.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 1/23/2013
    CPLS, PA | Evelyn J. Pabon Figueroa
    You can look for information in your local or State Bar Association directories. We practice in the Central Florida area and can assist someone in that area with a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/23/2013
    Connaghan Newberry Law Firm
    Connaghan Newberry Law Firm | Tara D. Newberry
    Depending on where you live, contact a local bar association or the state bar of Nevada for an attorney referral, however, not all attorneys participate in those referral programs and usually the program will not endorse the abilities of the attorney you are being referred. The best source for a referral, is a former client or other professional that can attest to that attorney's performance. Ask other people or professionals like accountants, financial advisors, realtors, etc., for a referral as those professionals often cross paths and will likely have several attorneys they can refer. If you don't feel comfortable asking for a bankruptcy referral, there are numerous internet resources that can provide information about attorneys and allow their former clients to provide ratings that you can look at as well. You should try to get at least 3 referrals, then meet with each and determine which attorney you feel the most comfortable with.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/22/2013
    Goldbach Law Group
    Goldbach Law Group | Marc Aaron Goldbach
    Bankruptcy, unlike other areas of the law, is an extremely personal decision that can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. For many individuals the need for bankruptcy assistance is obvious, but because of the stigma of bankruptcy and/or misinformation about the long term effects, many individuals put off finding help until there is no other alternative. So with that in mind, how does a person in need of bankruptcy find help. Typically, many people turn to friends, family or coworkers for a referral when they need a Lawyer. But again, because of the personal nature of bankruptcy, many people avoid disclosing to friends and family the need for help. Traditionally, the yellow pages were the number one source for information when locating a Bankruptcy Attorney. With the increase of multimedia and internet access, finding an attorney is as easy as typing in the word ?bankruptcy? in your favorite search engine. Literally, thousands of resources are available at your fingertips. With all this information available, how do you choose? Here are a few things to think about when choosing a Bankruptcy Attorney. The most important thing that you should look for in a Bankruptcy Attorney, or any professional for that matter, is personality. Not, do they have a good personality, but rather, do you they make you feel comfortable and do you feel at ease when speaking with them. As referred to above, bankruptcy can be a very difficult decision for most people and can cause a lot of anxiety. Having an attorney that you feel comfortable with can make the process of filing for bankruptcy much less stressful. Look for an attorney that focuses primarily on bankruptcy. As with many aspects of the law, the practice of bankruptcy law is becoming more and more specialized. Gone are the days when an attorney could hang out a shingle and handle all types of matters. Bankruptcy does not have to be the only area that they practice in, but it should be their primary focus. Availability is another key aspect to look at when choosing an attorney. 24/7 access is not necessary when picking an attorney, but knowing when are good times and how to contact them with a question or concern is critical to ease the anxiety of bankruptcy. Process is another important aspect when choosing an attorney. What is their process for dealing with their clients, especially you. Many attorneys have a process that they follow to make sure that everything is accomplished in a given time period. Discuss the process that they use so that you can be sure that it works for you as well. Technology can be a useful tool, but also can cause as much stress as the bankruptcy itself. You should be comfortable with their process so that your bankruptcy can go as smooth as possible. Remember when looking for the right person to assist you, you should carefully consider who you choose to represent you. Personality, Focus, Availability and Process are four key areas that you should understand before you hire your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/22/2013
    Granger Law Firm
    Granger Law Firm | Katharine Granger
    You can ask friends for referrals if they have any. The internet is a good tool as well to find an attorney in your area.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 1/22/2013
    Lyndon Ruhnke, PC
    Lyndon Ruhnke, PC | Lyndon Ruhnke
    Many attorneys file consumer bankruptcies, you could simply do an internet search for bankruptcy attorney in your town.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 1/22/2013
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    Do a search for bankruptcy attorneys for the city you live in.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/22/2013
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A.
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A. | Diane L. Drain
    Bankruptcy is a complicated process; a chapter 13 is extremely complicated. It is wise to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney before deciding to take this important step.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 1/22/2013
    Law offices of John P. Brooke | John Brooke
    You can either ask a friend, relative, neighbor or co-worker if they have anyone that they have dealt with for bankruptcy. Chances are that you know someone that has filed but they just don't go around telling everyone about it. If you don't want anyone to know about it you can call your local bar association and ask if they refer any attorneys. You could also do some research online and pick any attorney that you feel comfortable with based upon their website and client reviews. Most attorneys will give you a free, initial consultation so you would get to meet with him/her and decide if s/he is the right attorney for you. My office handles chapter 13 bankruptcy filings on Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn and I would be happy to speak with you about your situation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/22/2013
    Law Office of Sean P Fleming
    Law Office of Sean P Fleming | Sean P Fleming
    You can contact your local bar association for a referral.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/22/2013
    Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
    Many attorneys are quite experienced in handling chapter 13 matters, including myself. You should schedule a free initial consultation with one or more attorneys who have experience with chapter 13 cases, and you should evaluate their willingness to answer your questions and explain the process to your satisfaction. Your attorney will be acting on your behalf and guiding you through a complicated and often difficult process. You should have confidence in your lawyer, and you should be able to trust and expect that they will make time to answer your questions and address your concerns and not brush you off or just refer you to their legal assistant. I suggest that you also inquire as to the attorney's success rate in getting chapter 13 plans confirmed as well as their success rate in having their chapter 13 cases continue to completion and discharge. It is one thing to prepare and file a chapter 13 case. It is another to be able to ensure that the chapter 13 plan accomplishes what is intended and is manageable and realistic for the person filing the case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/22/2013
    Colorado Bankruptcy Law Group, LLC | Peter Mullison
    A Google search for bankruptcy attorneys in Colorado should give you a good list to start with. Also asking friends and family members for references is a good way to find someone you can trust.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/22/2013
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