How to Find a Bankruptcy Attorney Online
While many attorneys advertise their qualifications on their web sites, NO ONE should hire legal counsel based solely upon the results of an online search. However, information you obtain from the internet can be useful in narrowing your search, provided you know what to look for in a prospective bankruptcy attorney.
First, is the attorney licensed to practice in your area? Usually the attorney’s biography will state his or her bar admissions. Each of the 94 federal judicial districts has a bankruptcy court, and these courts are defined by geographic jurisdictions. More information concerning federal court geographic boundaries can be found here.
An attorney who is not a member of the bar where you reside will have to petition the court for admission pro hac vice (“for this event only”). An attorney who is not active in a court may not have useful information regarding the bankruptcy judge, the trustee, local customs and rules, or contacts to make your case go smoothly.
Second, how long has the attorney been practicing bankruptcy law? The federal bankruptcy laws are complex and attorneys spend years learning how to successfully navigate a case from start to finish. Don’t be a test case or a learning experience for a new attorney.
Third, does the attorney belong to any professional associations? The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and the American Bankruptcy Institute are two outstanding resources for attorneys to keep current on changes in the bankruptcy law. Member attorneys also receive training and information that is beneficial to their clients.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney is easy to find, if you know the tell-tale signs. Use these signs to narrow your search, and then interview your candidates either by phone or in-person. Your choice of a bankruptcy attorney is a serious matter and should be carefully considered, so get to know your attorney’s qualifications before your make a hiring decision.