On a daily basis I receive calls from potential clients who need a bankruptcy but are unsure of the cost. The price for bankruptcy in Minnesota can range from $1000 to $10,000 or more. The key to deciding which attorney to hire should be what is the cost, what is included in the cost, the experience of the attorney, and the customer service provided by the lawyer and staff.
The cost can vary widely from attorney to attorney and law firm to law firm. Large MN bankruptcy firms generally cost more. Many small solo lawyers charge less in an attempt to undercut the competition. The difference between the two is solo lawyers are generally trying to service many clients and therefore have less time for individual clients, and large law firms can create an impression that you are a number. Try to find a balance between the two.
The answer to what should be included in the paying a lawyer to file bankruptcy should be preparing and filing the bankruptcy petition, along with court appearances and communication. Usually the biggest problem between clients and bankruptcy lawyers falls with communication. The lawyer you choose should be reachable with reasonable questions, after all you have not been through this before. Two tell tail signs of problems is that you do not talk to an attorney when you initially call bankruptcy’s attorney’s office or you don’t meet with an attorney at your consultation. The five minute attorney pop in at the end of your consultation is not enough.
Bankruptcy filing in Minnesota is up right now, many individuals are going through financial trouble. The result is there is now a lot of lawyers starting their bankruptcy practice. Essentially they are practicing on your case without full knowledge of the bankruptcy code. Often these new bankruptcy attorneys are general practitioners practicing on criminal, family, business, estate planning and now bankruptcy. Find an attorney that practices bankruptcy law, they will be more knowledgeable and the process will go smoother.
Many attorneys forget that they are in a customer service job. Failing to inform clients of what to expect from a bankruptcy at the time of filing and in the future is a common problem. Your calls should be answered the same day and if an attorney is not available you should expect a return call within 24 hours. When you interview an attorney at the consultation you should feel comfortable with the attorney. Did the attorney spend time with you and answer your questions? If not, it will only get worse after they have been paid.
The basic rule regarding bankruptcy cost and price is to ensure that you are comparing apples to apples. Do your research, remember there is no free lunch, but the lunch should be reasonable. Try to find a lawyer that matches the above criteria at a reasonable rate, not necessarily the cheapest price.