What to Expect at Your First Meeting with a Bankruptcy Lawyer
Being in debt is stressful enough without having to bare your soul to a stranger. Yet that is exactly what you need to do in order to make your initial bankruptcy consultation productive.
Different lawyers do things in their own way, but in general there is a pattern to the first meeting.
If you are meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer who believes in providing information to his or her clients rather than merely grinding through consultations, you can be relatively sure that the initial bankruptcy consultation will follow these steps:
- Finding Out About You: Your lawyer will ask you some basic information about who you are, where you live, and other identifiers, or have you fill out some forms that gather this information. This is important so that the lawyer can verify your eligibility to file for bankruptcy, as well as where your case can be filed. You will also be questioned about your debts and property or fill out some forms that list what you own, etc. This will guide the conversation with the attorney.
- Getting Organized: Some law firms will have you meet with a paralegal or case processor; others will have you go directly to the lawyer. If you are meeting a paralegal or case processor then you will most likely be handing over documents so they can be organized for you to meet with the lawyer.
- Meeting With The Lawyer: The paralegal or case processor is not legally allowed to give you advice, which is why they have lawyers running these places. If your initial bankruptcy consultation does not involve meeting personally with the lawyer, you should immediately run in the other direction and never look back.
- Reviewing Your Situation And Examine Options: This is when the lawyer rips apart your problem and figures out what your best and worst options are, to make things better. It is your chance to ask questions and request clarification of the answers. Take as much time as you need, it is your life, so you need to be comfortable.
- Making The Commitment To Ending Your Bill Problems: Now is the moment of truth. Do you want to get out of debt, or are you going to keep going down the black hole? Do you want to get control over your life, or do you want to keep running from the phone calls and collection letters?
If you want to end the bill problems, and assuming bankruptcy is an option for you, then you will need to go through the retainer agreement with your lawyer. Make sure you understand the fee structure and what he or she will and will not do for you before you sign.
Ask questions, read every line, and take nothing for granted. Once you have hired your lawyer and committed to a life free of overdue bills, you can rest easy in the knowledge that you have done the right thing for yourself and your future.