How to Hire a New York Bankruptcy Attorney
If your pile of bills is reaching epic proportions, it may be time to talk to a New York bankruptcy attorney. But if you've never hired a lawyer before, you may not know how to go about it. This article will give you some tips, so that you can find not just any attorney, but the best attorney for you.
Finding a New York Bankruptcy Attorney
You may not even realize it, but you already have several means of finding a New York bankruptcy lawyer.
Ask your friends, colleagues, and family members if they can recommend a local bankruptcy attorney. They may have needed the services of a bankruptcy lawyer even if they didn't tell you about it at the time. Real-world feedback can be helpful. If you have a tax preparer, he or she might also have a recommendation for you.
If you don't want to discuss your financial situation with people you know or you just want another name to round out your list of prospective New York bankruptcy attorneys, you have yet another resource right at your fingertips. Regardless of whether you live in Manhattan, Rochester, Albany, or elsewhere in New York, Attorneys.com offers a service that can connect you with a New York bankruptcy attorney in your area.
When you are ready to begin the process, call us at 1-877-913-7222, or fill out the short form on this web site. After answering a couple of questions, we will send you the name and contact information for at least one bankruptcy attorney near you. You may contact the attorney directly, or he or she will get back to you within two business days.
Now that you have the name of a New York bankruptcy attorney or two, you should call them to set up an introductory meeting, called an initial consultation. The initial consultation is where you can interview an attorney to find out if he or she is someone you want to hire.
You can accomplish several goals at the initial consultation, including:
- Learning about an attorney's background, experience, and skills
- Reviewing your bankruptcy options
- Most importantly, determining if you want to hire the attorney
Many bankruptcy attorneys in New York will either offer the initial consultation for free or charge a nominal fee. Ask about this when you book the appointment.
Preparing to Meet with a New York Bankruptcy Attorney
There are a couple of things you should do to prepare for the meeting.
The first thing you should do is consider what qualities you want in an attorney who represents you. That way, you'll recognize the right one when you see him or her. You probably want an attorney who:
- Has experience representing clients filing bankruptcy in New York State
- Is very familiar with New York state and federal bankruptcy law
- Offers sound advice and has wise judgment
- Charges a reasonable fee
- Is someone you'd be happy to work with for the duration of your bankruptcy filing
If you have any special requirements-such as after-hours appointments or communication in another language-you should add these to your list of requirements.
You also want to make a list of questions to ask the lawyer during your initial consultation. Ask questions that help you decide whether to hire the New York bankruptcy attorney. Some on-point topics to discuss include:
- How much experience the lawyer has helping New York clients with their bankruptcy filings
- Which type of bankruptcy you should file
- Which debts will be erased and which will not
- What property and assets you can hold on to and which you have to liquidate
- How much you will have to pay in legal fees and other related expenses
Meeting with a New York Bankruptcy Attorney
The more you prepare before an initial consultation, the more productive your time will be. So you'll want to gather the following items and bring them with you to your initial consultation:
- Your written list of questions
- Writing material to record the answers and any notes or impressions you want to remember
- A list of past and present debts
- A list of assets you own (such as a home, car, boat, and collectibles) as well as a list of your financial holdings, including bank accounts, stocks, and retirement accounts
- A copy of the deed to your house if you own one
- Proof of your income, such as tax returns and paycheck stubs
As you discuss your finances during an initial consultation, you should feel free to speak openly and honestly with New York bankruptcy attorneys. This is because they are bound by strict confidentiality rules that prevent them from discussing anything learned at an initial consultation. Even if you end up hiring someone else, all bankruptcy attorneys in New York will keep your information confidential.
Selecting a New York Bankruptcy Attorney
After your meeting, think back to the qualities you're looking for in a New York bankruptcy attorney. How well does this attorney measure up? To find out, ask yourself a few questions:
- Does the lawyer have the experience and background you need for your New York bankruptcy filing?
- Are you confident in the lawyer's advice and judgment?
- Are the legal fees fair?
- How comfortable are you with him or her?
When you are finished interviewing everyone on your list, it's time to make a hiring decision. If you only met with one, but hit it off right away, or you met with several, but one was clearly better for you than the others, then your decision is not a difficult one.
If, however, you have several worthy contenders, get the names and contact information for some previous clients and call them for some real-world feedback. The information they provide should help you whittle your list down to the very best candidate.
Once you have hired your New York bankruptcy attorney, you are ready to move forward with your filing.
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