Archive for the ‘Bankruptcy Fees and Costs’ Category

Need a Cheap Bankruptcy Lawyer?

In Bankruptcy Fees and Costs on July 27, 2010 at 7:19 am

I’ve monitored several bankruptcy forums, and a common discussion thread centers on bankruptcy fees, and in particular, people who request recommendations for a “cheap” bankruptcy lawyer. While I understand that no one wants to ( nor should) pay more than the going rate for legal fees, asking for a cheap bankruptcy lawyer is like asking for a cheap brain surgeon or even a cheap lawyer to represent you in a murder trial. Do you really want cheap? No, you want good! Of course the very nature of considering bankruptcy means that those in need of a lawyer don’t have a lot of money to spend. On the other hand, people should understand that filing bankruptcy is not a simple or routine matter anymore. In fact, after the changes to the Bankruptcy Code that took affect after October 2005, the bankruptcy laws have become a mine field loaded with hair trigger traps waiting to be sprung upon the unwary. Perhaps the perception is that all lawyers are capable of handling bankruptcy cases, so why not seek out the cheapest. I’ve been a lawyer for many years, and I can tell you two things. First, just passing the bar exam, while an achievement, is not in any way an indication of someone’s competency to handle the practical aspects of a bankruptcy case. A lawyer’s years of hands-on experience is what saves his or her clients time and money in the long run. Second, there are too many lawyers in the Buffalo area for the dwindling population. Therefore, financial pressures force many lawyers to take cases they don’t really know much about. Younger, less experiences lawyers in particular find it easy to place ads seeking bankruptcy clients. They offer a low fee as a way of undercutting the market, which they hope will attract clients they wouldn’t otherwise find based on their level of experience. People that fall for the cheaper-is-better routine, I am sorry to report, often discover they’ve paid more in the long run. Improperly filed cases are automatically dismissed, resulting in more fees and costs, and many botched cases have resulted in people losing valuable property because of poor advice. In rare instances, if your lawyer neglects to prepare your petition properly, you could even be the subject of a criminal prosecution. In short, you don’t want cheap! You want good at a fair price. By the way, anybody know of a cheap date for one of my single friends?