Everyone tells you to see a bankruptcy lawyer when you have debt problems. But there isn’t much information on how to pick the best bankruptcy lawyer. Before you see a bankruptcy lawyer, do some simple homework. Based on my 39 years as a Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyer, I will share what I think can be helpful.
See a bankruptcy lawyer who is a certified specialist. Many lawyers have what we jokingly call a “Door Office.” That means they will take any case that walks in the front door. But bankruptcy law is a highly specialized field. There really is no longer any such thing as an easy bankruptcy case.
A lawyer who also handles accidents, divorces, wills, and whatever else walks in may not be up to speed for handling your bankruptcy case.
The State Bar of California recognizes that bankruptcy practice is very complex. The Bar requires an exceptionally high degree of experience and ability before they will allow a lawyer to call themselves a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist. If you see a bankruptcy lawyer who is one of the certified specialists, you are probably going to be in good hands.
Next, I suggest that you ignore bankruptcy lawyer advertisements. Most lawyer advertising is only propaganda. An ad tells you only what the lawyer wants you to know. The same thing goes for law office web sites. It may be better to find out what other people think. You can do that by reading lawyer reviews on a serious legal information web site like Avvo.
Avvo publishes lawyer reviews, as well as legal guides and provides a public platform for obtaining free legal advice written by volunteer lawyers. And, if you happen to know a lawyer, ask that lawyer for a referral. Also, if you know someone who has ever filed bankruptcy, ask that person for a referral if they had a good experience.
Next, consider the fact that some lawyer reviews are fake. I am deeply suspicious of lawyers who do not have a single negative review. No one writes a fake bad review about themselves, but they will write fake good reviews.
In the practice of law you can not make every client happy. If there are negative reviews, then read them. Decide for yourself if a negative review was written by someone who has a legitimate complaint. I myself have two negative reviews. And they do not bother me one bit. First, it lets you know that the other fifty 5 Star reviews I have must be genuine. (And, I think you will see for yourself that the complainers did not have a legitimate gripe. But you can decide that for yourself.)
Lastly, most bankruptcy lawyers will give you a free consultation. I suggest that you not hesitate to consult several or more lawyers. You will find there are big differences between lawyers in what they know, what they charge, and their level of friendliness.
You can have a completely free consultation with a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist at Bayer, Wishman & Leotta. Our firm has offices in Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Fernando Valley, and Chino, CA. Call toll free, (800)-477-3111.