U.S. bankruptcy attorneys were a pretty rushed lot in the final period before October 17 – that’s when the laws governing bankruptcy ceased being a catchall shelter. There was a quiet stampede of almost 1.25 million applicants who wanted to take advantage of the more amenable aspects that existed till then.
The basic function of bankruptcy attorneys is to guide potential applicants as far as feasibility and procedure is concerned, and to act on their behalf in court. With the new amendments, a bankruptcy attorney must also inform a client why certain loopholes no longer exist. Finding the right lawyer is essential. As distasteful as the circumstances may be, effort put into locating such an attorney is wisely spent.
In present times, bankruptcy attorneys are having a boom time. A certain degree of complacent shoddiness appears to have crept into the lesser echelons. There are innumerable cases reported where the attorneys — especially “cost effective” ones — do not even show up at a scheduled hearing. Or, they fail to be thorough in necessary research and paper work. Such laxness can spell financial disaster.
One can pick a bankruptcy attorney out the yellow pages, but finding the right one calls for a far more astute approach. The best way is through referrals from business contacts and colleagues(not friends or relatives), who have had satisfactory dealings with such attorneys. Another suitable way is to ask attorneys from other legal disciplines for a referral.
Every state and city has a Bar Association, and the Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys is another good source. While narrowing down your final choice, ensure that the attorney is certified American Bankruptcy Institute, so that a reasonable degree of accountability is established. Finally, find out how many actual bankruptcy cases the attorney has handled in the given year, and how many of them yielded satisfactorily results from the client’s point of view.