What Should Happen at the Initial Consultation?
You have made your calls and finally feel like you have found an attorney with the right credentials and enough experience. Now it is time to make an appointment and come into the office. During the consultation it is important to keep several things in mind.
- Are you given plenty of time with an actual attorney for a face-to-face meeting? Although the consultation might be free, it should not feel rushed.
- Does the attorney speak in plain English and is he or she able to explain the legal concepts in a way that makes sense to you?
- Also, does the attorney allow you a chance to speak and is he or she concerned about your own goals in filing the case? You will be making some critical decisions before filing your bankruptcy, so you should have an attorney who makes it a point to listen to your concerns and your goals.
- Does the attorney make you feel comfortable enough to be honest about your situation? Bankruptcy requires you to disclose many personal, intimate details about your financial situation. If you aren’t comfortable with your attorney, you may risk not disclosing some important details about your case.
- Finally, an attorney should provide a written agreement before representing you that delineates exactly what services he or she will be performing, and the costs for those services.
A Final Warning: Don’t Fall for this Trick
Here is a trick to look out for. You see an advertisement that says, “Attorney practices exclusively in the area of bankruptcy, and has been in practice since 1992.” So you look up his information on the state bar website and sure enough, he passed the bar and has been practicing ever since. That sure seems like an extensive amount of experience. The year 1992 was a long time ago. So here is the trick. The advertisement doesn’t really say he has been practicing bankruptcy specifically since 1992. His practice could have been exclusively DUI cases until yesterday. He could be more of a novice to bankruptcy law than you are. This illustrates the importance of asking the right questions.
Ultimately, You Have the Power to Choose
Don’t forget, ultimately you are the one who hires the attorney, not the other way around. In most circumstances, there is no need to rush and hire the first one you meet, unless you have gone through the above steps and feel comfortable with him or her. And remember, there is no need to decide while you are at the office. You can always head home after your initial meeting if you don’t feel 100% sure that you are ready to hire the attorney. No reputable law firm will ever pressure you into choosing their office on the spot.