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How to Hire a Boston Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you are struggling to pay your bills month after month and the stress is starting to have an impact on your life, filing for bankruptcy could be the answer. But you have probably heard conflicting or confusing things about declaring bankruptcy. What type should you file for? Can you keep your house or your car? What will that do to your credit? The right Boston bankruptcy lawyer will answer all your questions and guide you through the process.

Bankruptcy laws were created to help people get a fresh start, so remember that many people in Massachusetts are in the same situation. By filing for bankruptcy, you can sort out your financial situation without the stress of having creditors hounding you for money you don't have.

There are generally two options for consumers who file for bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. A Boston Chapter 7 bankruptcy, known as a straight bankruptcy, is the quickest and simplest type of bankruptcy to declare. For those with a regular source of income, a Boston Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be an option. Under Chapter 13, you get court approval to partially or fully repay your debts over three to five years.

What to Ask a Boston Bankruptcy Lawyer

Once you decide to declare bankruptcy, you will want the process handled as quickly and painlessly as possible. The right attorney will help you through the process. But if you've never before hired a lawyer, you may not know where to start.

Start by talking to people you know who have declared bankruptcy, and ask if they have a Boston bankruptcy lawyer they could recommend. Personal recommendations can be very useful when choosing a lawyer for your consumer bankruptcy.

If you can't get any good personal recommendations or if you want to interview other lawyers as well, you can use a site like Attorneys.com. Attorneys.com can connect you with lawyers in the Boston area who practice bankruptcy. Start by filling out a form on this site or calling 1-877-913-7222. After answering a few simple questions, you will soon have the name of one or more Boston bankruptcy lawyers. You can contact them, or they will reach out to you within two business days.

Once you have the name of at least one attorney, you can then begin interviewing them to decide which one is the best to handle your bankruptcy proceeding. This meeting is called an initial consultation.

When you meet with Boston bankruptcy lawyers, you will need to bring your financial information, including what you owe and what you own. The lawyer will ask you many questions about your current financial situation and what you want to accomplish by declaring bankruptcy. After you meet with each lawyer, you should understand what is involved in the process, how long it will take, what type of bankruptcy you should declare and what assets you can keep.

You should also ask questions of your own. Find out where each lawyer went to school, and how long they have been practicing. Be sure to ask whether the lawyer only handles bankruptcies, or whether they do other types of cases.

Payment is another important issue. Ask the lawyers exactly how much they charge and how they are paid. Some lawyers bill by the hour. Those hourly rates can vary greatly, depending on experience and location. A lawyer who has overseen hundreds of bankruptcy cases will charge more than one right out of law school. A lawyer with offices near Government Center may charge more than one with an office in Allston-Brighton. Remember that it may end up being cheaper to hire a lawyer with a more expensive hourly rate if that lawyer can wrap up your bankruptcy proceedings faster than a lawyer who charges less by the hour but takes longer to do the work.

If you meet with several bankruptcy lawyers, you will probably also find some who work on a flat fee basis since bankruptcies are usually predictable and have few surprises for experienced lawyers. If you do meet with a lawyer who charges a flat fee, make sure you understand whether expenses such as court costs and filing fees are included or whether you will be billed separately for those.

You may have heard about lawyers who work on a contingency fee basis, where they get no money up front and receive a percentage of a payout or award. You won’t find a Boston bankruptcy lawyer who accepts contingency fees since there is no chance of a large payout in a bankruptcy case.

Selecting a Boston Bankruptcy Law Firm

Once you've met with each attorney you're considering, it's time to select one to handle your case. Think back over your meetings. Was there one lawyer who stood out from the rest? If you're undecided, ask yourself which made you feel the most comfortable? Who was most knowledgeable? Which one charged the most reasonable fee? Those questions should help you make your decision.

Bankruptcy can give you a fresh start, and the right lawyer can help you accomplish that with a minimum of stress. Do some research and ask a lot of questions before you hire one to represent you.

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