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Beware Cut Rate Bankruptcy Advice

May 16, 2012

Our elders always told us, “You get what you pay for,” but as we get older we learn that this advice isn’t always true. Sometimes you get more than you bargain for, and sometimes less. So how can you know if you are getting the best bankruptcy legal services for your money? The answer is actually simpler than you think. Below is a discussion of three little pigs attorneys who charged three different bankruptcy rates: the expensive rate, the market rate, and the discount rate.

The Expensive Bankruptcy Attorney
A consumer bankruptcy attorney who charges higher fees is telling you an important detail about his or her legal services. The expensive attorney does not need your business. The expensive attorney is often very experienced in consumer bankruptcy cases, but has committed his or her time to some other type of work. This is often true of bankruptcy attorneys who work for creditors, like banks and credit card companies. Sometimes Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees represent bankruptcy clients, but most of their time is spent on trustee work. Sometimes bankruptcy is just a “side business” that the attorney can “take or leave.” Obviously the expensive attorney’s main focus is on something other than representing you.

The Discount Bankruptcy Attorney
The discount bankruptcy attorney needs your business either because he or she has started a new bankruptcy practice or because business is slow. A new bankruptcy practitioner is obviously a dangerous gamble. This attorney does not have the experience with the bankruptcy code, the local rules, the bankruptcy court judges and trustees, or the local creditors to reach the best outcome for the bankruptcy client. Practicing in the bankruptcy profession is not just a matter of knowing “what to do,” but the best result often depends on knowing “how to do it.” New bankruptcy attorneys simply do not know the “how to” of the bankruptcy practice.

A slow bankruptcy practice should also be a warning sign. Ask yourself, “Why is this firm offering a discount rate?” Is this attorney not getting referrals from other attorneys? No recommendations from previous clients? Why not? There may be reasons for the discount rate that could affect your case.

The Market Rate Bankruptcy Attorney
Successful consumer bankruptcy attorneys know what their competitors charge and will not over charge or under charge their clients. The market rate bankruptcy attorney knows the value of his or her services, and will confidently represent you in bankruptcy court. Most bankruptcy fees are simple and the process at a market rate attorney’s office is very efficient. This attorney can quickly identify issues with your case, recommend a course of action, and will zealously represent you. The market rate bankruptcy attorney has open lines of communication with the bankruptcy trustees and creditors, and can work quickly to achieve the best possible result.

Just like Goldilocks discovered, market rate bankruptcy services is just right! Your best option is an experienced bankruptcy attorney that charges a fair price.


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