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Photo of attorneys Shelley Slafkes and Bruce Levitt
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6 Things to Look for in a NJ Bankruptcy Attorney

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2022 | Why Hire an Attorney?

If you’re struggling to pay your bills and creditors are taking aggressive collection actions against you, it can be tempting to hire the first attorney you find. However, it is important to understand that selecting your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer is one of the most important decisions you can make, so you want to get it right.

Below are 6 things you should look for in a NJ bankruptcy lawyer.

1.Bankruptcy Experience

Although any licensed attorney can represent you in filing for bankruptcy, it is important to hire an attorney with bankruptcy experience.

Bankruptcy law is complex and you want the best result you can get. When speaking with a prospective attorney ask what percentage of their practice is bankruptcy and how many bankruptcy cases the lawyer has filed in New Jersey. Additionally, make sure the attorney you are planning to hire has experience with the type of bankruptcy you are filing whether it is a Chapter 7, 11 or 13.

2.Quality Services for a Reasonable Price

The fee a law firm charges is often a factor in choosing your bankruptcy lawyer. After all, you’re already struggling financially and want to get the best service for a reasonable price.

Fee alone, however, should not be the determining factor as you don’t want an attorney who will cut corners and not give your case the attention it needs and deserves.

Most NJ bankruptcy attorneys charge a flat fee, which should include a variety of legal services. It is imperative that you understand what services this fee does and does not cover. Everything included should be clearly outlined in the retainer agreement.

3.Having your Unique Needs Met

 Although experience is important, you also don’t want to make the mistake of working with a “bankruptcy mill.” This type of firm churns out hundreds of cases without fully reviewing or focusing on any of their client’s cases. If you never meet with your attorney, what good are they?

4. Local Bankruptcy Practice

Every bankruptcy court follows federal bankruptcy laws, but each district court also has its own local rules and procedures. Working with a  bankruptcy lawyer that has practiced in the court where you will be filing your case, and who is therefore familiar with the local rules and trustees, can be extremely beneficial.

5.Availability of the Attorney

Find out what parts of the process the attorney will be handling in your case. Who will be preparing your petition? Will the attorney be preparing it or their staff? Ask how long it will take for your phone calls to get returned. You need to decide if you are comfortable with the answer.

6.Your Comfort Level with the Attorney

At your initial consultation, you should feel comfortable with the bankruptcy attorney you are meeting with. You want to work with somebody you trust, who cares about you and that you can easily communicate with.

For most people filing bankruptcy is an emotional matter and it’s important that you feel good about the attorney you are working with. This is especially true when you are filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy which lasts from 3 to 5 years. Therefore, no matter how experienced the lawyer is, if you don’t feel comfortable during the first meeting, they are not the lawyer for you.

Let Us Help You Get the Financial Relief You Deserve

If you are interested in learning how filing a bankruptcy case can benefit you, contact Levitt & Slafkes, P.C., at 973-323-2953. You can also reach us by filling out our online form. We represent debtors in Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 filings. Let us help you get the fresh financial start you need today.

We are proudly designated as a debt relief agency by an Act of Congress.  We have proudly assisted consumers in filing for Bankruptcy Relief for over 30 years. The information in this blog is for general information purposes only.  Nothing should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.