|How do I choose a good bankruptcy attorney?
Bankruptcy law is a specialized area of law and it is in your best interest to find an experienced bankruptcy attorney who will be able to complete the complex legal forms, apply the law to your facts, and expertly navigate the bankruptcy process for you as smoothly as possible. It can make a big difference in how smooth an experience or successful your bankruptcy case turns out to be, whether or not you are able to protect your assets to the fullest extent possible, and whether you avoid or reduce risks in your bankruptcy.
When considering which bankruptcy attorney to hire, here are some things to look for:
An attorney who specializes in bankruptcy law is most often the best choice because he or she is typically more up-to-date on any changes in the bankruptcy code and local bankruptcy court procedures. Hiring an attorney who may have a large number of years of general law experience is probably not as good as hiring an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy law. Ask how many bankruptcy cases the attorney has filed and what types of bankruptcies. It is very helpful to hire an attorney who has filed at least 1000 bankruptcies, 950 or more Chapter 7 bankruptcies and at least 50 Chapter 13 bankruptcies.
Attorneys who do not regularly practice bankruptcy law may not identify potential issues in your case. In addition, attorneys who do not regularly practice bankruptcy law may not be familiar with the local bankruptcy court rules or with the preferences and idiosyncrasies of the local bankruptcy trustees and judges.
Additionally, hire an attorney with at least 6 years of full time bankruptcy practice experience. But ideally, find an attorney that has practiced bankruptcy law full time for over 10 years. After 10 years of law practice, an attorney is a well-seasoned practitioner and has dealt with many different client situations. That higher level of experience can help avoid costly mistakes or unnecessary stress.
Contact your state bar association to see if the attorney you are interested in has ever been disciplined. This can usually (each state bar will be different) be done by visiting your state bar website and doing a search within the state bar’s website for that attorney.
Many competent bankruptcy attorneys are members of The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) which is a well-respected consumer bankruptcy organization. Ask if the attorney you are interested in is a member of NACBA. If the bankruptcy attorney is not part of NACBA, check whether he or she is a member of a State Bar Debtor-Creditor Section. Debtor-Creditor Sections of State Bar Associations focus on law and issues related to the legal field of debtor and creditor law, which includes bankruptcy law.
Finally, check for Client testimonials on the attorney's website and online reviews of the attorney from reputable review sites. Google the attorney’s name and see what comes up. Other popular sources of attorney reviews can be found on AVVO.com and Yelp.com.
The attorney fees charged for a particular bankruptcy case depend on the unique circumstances of every case. Cases can range from basic situations with very little assets or debts to standard cases with more creditors and more assets to complex cases, which typically involve a lot more debt and often the debtor is running a business. The variation between cases can be dramatic as each person's situation is unique. Generally, attorneys’ fees will be lower for basic cases and increase accordingly as the complexity and estimated time for lawyer and his staff to work on the case increase.
Most reputable bankruptcy attorneys will give you an attorney fee quote after meeting with you, which should be backed in writing at some point. Most reputable attorneys will not give you an exact fee quote (but will give you an estimated range of fees if desired) over the telephone without meeting you in person or without scheduling a telephone consultation for you. The attorney needs to learn much more about your case before he can be expected to give you a quote of fees for his / her service. The attorney should distinguish how much the attorney fees are from the cost for the court filing fee and required bankruptcy classes.
It may be worthwhile to research the average bankruptcy attorney fees in your area but also keep in mind that an attorney who charges a lower fee is much less likely going to provide you good quality (i.e. thorough, professional, reliable, experienced) service either because: the attorney has a high-volume case load and does not spend much time carefully analyzing each case, the attorney does not possess much bankruptcy law experience, the attorney has significant character flaws or ethical issues, or some other reason.
Most attorneys will not file your case until the attorney fees are paid in full. However, there are a few bankruptcy attorneys who do allow for a portion of the attorney fees to be paid after-filing with an affordable monthly payment plan.
Set up a free bankruptcy consultation with an attorney you are interested in and see whether you feel comfortable with him or her during your first meeting. Did the attorney answer your questions clearly and concisely? Did the attorney’s staff seem well-organized and professional? Was the attorney direct with you and didn’t just tell you what you wanted to hear? Did the attorney seem concerned to make sure she or he was spotting the issues in your cases and alerting you to those issues? Did the attorney spend more than 15 minutes with you at the initial bankruptcy consultation? Can you see yourself following this attorney’s instructions and working with his/her staff?
Often people choose professional services based on the location and convenience either to their home or to their work. However, sometimes it may well be worth traveling a little further to hire or work with an experienced and reputable attorney to get your bankruptcy case done right the first time. Some bankruptcy attorneys have more than one office location. Sometimes, an attorney will have one or more branch offices or meeting locations in addition to his/her main office.
Click here to read additional FAQs
WHAT BANKRUPTCY CAN DO FOR YOU ?
BANKRUPTCY WILL STOP:
• MEDICAL COLLECTIONS
• CREDIT CARD COLLECTIONS
• TAX COLLECTIONS
• OTHER TYPES OF COLLECTIONS
• HARRASSING PHONE CALLS
• FINANCIAL DISTRESS
BANKRUPTCY WILL PROTECT:
• VALUABLE ASSETS
• YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE
• YOUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE
• YOUR PIECE OF MIND
CALL US TODAY, WE CAN HELP !
CALL NOW AT - (503) 808-9032
BEAVERTON (Main Office)
12655 SW Center St., Suite 120
Beaverton, Oregon 97005
* By Appointment Only *
Located in the 6-story CASCADE PLAZA WEST building (a white building with blue roof segments) in Beaverton near Hwy. 217, SW Canyon Rd., and Cedar Hills Blvd. The building is on the corner of SW Center St. and Hall St. Only three (3) blocks from the Beaverton Central Max train stop (Blue line), near the "Beaverton Round."
Parking is free. Handicap access ramps and elevators located at the ground floor entry.
Upcoming Office this year!
* By Appointment Only *
Conveniently located in Hillsboro.
Parking is free.
We closed our downtown location and a new more convenient location to be announced this year.
* By Appointment Only *
CALL US TODAY TO START LIVING DEBT FREE!
*** WE CAN HELP ***
|Reviews, Rating and Affiliations
I must say Scott is they best to work with, he has gone way out of his way to help my wife and I with a chapter 7, he was amazing to work with, if you plan to file you must check with Scott first, he even has 2 locations, Scott would get 10 stars if it would let me rate that high.
- Rick T.
We hired Mr. Hutchinson in early 2011 to represent us in filing for bankruptcy. I had interviewed two other attorneys in Portland prior to selecting him. Mr. Hutchinson is a very professional and knowledgeable attorney. The filing process went very smoothly for and we were discharged successfully. We are very happy that we found him.- Jody H.
No one wants to be in the position to have to file for bankruptcy. It's humiliating no matter what the circumstances. My experience with Mr. Hutchinson was excellent. I was made to feel like a person and not just another case. Not only was I filing for bankruptcy, to top it off my case was extremely difficult (which I am told is highly unusual) as I was right on the border between being able to file a 7 or 13. It created a lot of additional work and hassle for Mr. Hutchinson. Regardless of how frustrating that may have been, I was consistently treated with respect, patience and professionalism throughout the entire process. He went more than the extra mile for me. If you find you are in a position to file bankruptcy I would strongly suggest Mr. Hutchinson's services.
More reviews on Avvo.com
Oregon State Bar Association
OSBar listing Scott Hutchinson