Ensure Your Fresh Start Is Not A False Start
Even in today’s specialized legal world, there are still some “general practice” attorneys who work in many different areas of the law. A general practice attorney may represent clients in family law like divorces with little or no property, minor criminal issues, small land disputes, small probate estates, low dollar personal injury cases, and the like. While a general practice attorney can successfully represent clients in many legal matters, some areas of the law require a more specialized knowledge.
From the outside, a bankruptcy case seems like a simple process. You attend a couple education classes, there are standardized forms that are filled out, you pay a filing fee, and finally go to a meeting with the bankruptcy trustee. Simple, right? In some cases it is that easy, but don’t let bankruptcy’s streamlined process fool you.
Bankruptcy is a mixture of state and federal statutes, case law, procedural rules, and court and creditor customs. General practice attorneys are just not as familiar with these various rules and practices. An experienced bankruptcy attorney is also able to identify problem areas, like preferential payments to creditors or equity issues, which could have serious consequences to your bankruptcy case. Even the timing when a bankruptcy is filed can have consequences to your case. For instance, bankruptcy debtors lose their tax refund checks each year because they filed either too early or too late.
Hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney ensures that your case will be filed correctly; that any potential trouble areas in your case will be identified and discussed before your case is filed; that you will be informed of how your case is progressing; and that you will be represented in all communications with creditors and the bankruptcy trustee. Hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney gives you peace of mind knowing that your case is being handled correctly and competently.
Hiring experienced counsel to represent you has one more benefit – reputation. The local bankruptcy trustee and judge are familiar with your bankruptcy attorney. They have confidence that your petition and schedules are drafted correctly and that the attorney is representing the client ethically and competently. That confidence is not present with the general practice attorney. The trustee and judge are skeptical that the paperwork is correct and wonder what has been “overlooked.” Consequently, the case is scrutinized more than average.
If you are looking for an attorney to represent you in your bankruptcy case, hire someone who has devoted his or her practice to bankruptcy law. Your property and future financial success is too important to risk. Hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney and ensure that your fresh start is not a false start.