What Is a Bankruptcy Law Firm?
A bankruptcy law firm is a law firm that handles or specializes in bankruptcy cases. Most bankruptcy law firms also handle cases in other practice areas, but specialize in bankruptcy cases.
A law firm that handles bankruptcies will have on its staff lawyers, paralegals, researchers, investigators, legal assistants, financial experts, and other professionals.
By working with a bankruptcy law firm, people can focus on getting their lives back on track while their lawyer handles the meetings and paperwork.
What Can Bankruptcy Law Firms Do?
A bankruptcy law firm works with individuals who are experiencing financial difficulties and who are considering filing for bankruptcy as an option for relief.
A bankruptcy law firm works with clients to:
- Decide whether filing for bankruptcy is the right choice and what type of bankruptcy to file
- Fill out all bankruptcy paperwork, gather financial records, and submit the paperwork before any deadlines
- Represent clients in bankruptcy court and at all meetings with creditors
- Discharge debts such as credit card debts, medical bills, and home foreclosures
It is not uncommon for a person to consult with a bankruptcy lawyer and ultimately decide not to file for bankruptcy.
A good bankruptcy lawyer will work with clients to determine the best option for their individual situation.
Eligibility for Hiring a Bankruptcy Law Firm
There aren’t any hard requirements when it comes to filing for bankruptcy — many people will qualify. There is not even a minimum debt requirement.
In order to file for bankruptcy, you must meet the following requirements:
- You have not filed for bankruptcy within the last six to eight years
- You cannot have had a bankruptcy petition dismissed within the last 180 days
- Your petition can’t be fraudulent or abusive (meaning that you actually have the means to pay off the debts or are attempting to trick or defraud the court or creditors)
Everyone who files for bankruptcy must also complete mandatory credit counseling. Your legal team can help set up a meeting with a counselor.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Bankruptcy Law Firm?
The costs can vary at each law firm, but most will charge either an hourly rate or an upfront flat rate based on the complexity of your case.
For law firms that charge a flat rate for their legal services, the cost is usually around $500 for simple cases and around $2,000 for more complex cases.
Why Should I Hire a Bankruptcy Law Firm?
It isn’t a requirement to work with a law firm or lawyer when filing a bankruptcy claim. However, doing so will ensure that you are able to build the strongest case possible and will vastly improve your chances of approval.
It can be especially beneficial to speak with a lawyer if you are already experiencing wage garnishment or a potential repossession of your home or other property.
Here are some top benefits a law firm can provide in your bankruptcy case.
Expertise in Bankruptcy Cases
The legal team at a quality bankruptcy law firm will likely have decades of experience among all the members of the team.
They will have seen and handled all kinds of bankruptcy cases, from very simple and straightforward to highly complex cases.
Knowledge of Bankruptcy Laws
Everyone on your legal team will have a thorough knowledge of bankruptcy laws and the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
They can help you decide whether to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows for complete liquidation of debts (with exceptions), while Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves paying off a portion of the debt through a payment plan.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is another option that is generally only available to corporations. This type of bankruptcy is sometimes called a “reorganization” bankruptcy and allows for the supervised financial restructuring of a company or (rarely) individual assets.
Law Firm Resources
When you hire a bankruptcy lawyer from a notable law firm, you also have access to a full legal team.
This means that you will have people with a variety of skills and areas of expertise guiding you through the bankruptcy process and available to answer questions along the way.
Can I File for Bankruptcy Without Hiring a Law Firm?
Yes, you can file for bankruptcy without working with a law firm or bankruptcy lawyer. However, it would not be recommended that you do so unless you possess extensive legal and financial knowledge.
Sometimes, it may be absolutely necessary to represent yourself because of financial reasons, but you may still have some options.
Often, there are local non-profit organizations that offer free legal advice or other types of free legal aid. The American Bar Association offers resources for people looking for free legal help.
What to Look for in a Top Bankruptcy Law Firm
Here are some of the qualities that you should look for in a quality bankruptcy law firm.
Impressive Bankruptcy Case Track Record
A good bankruptcy law firm will have a solid track record of success in all of the types of cases that they handle.
It isn’t common for bankruptcy petitions to be dismissed, but still, a good bankruptcy lawyer can help ensure this doesn’t happen.
Client Testimonials & Reviews
Before deciding on a law firm to work with, make sure that you investigate thoroughly and read any client testimonials or reviews that you can find.
You will want to make sure that you are working with a law firm and legal team that is both confident and compassionate toward clients like yourself.
Hire a Top Bankruptcy Law Firm Near You
Filing for consumer bankruptcy can be a great way to get a fresh start after experiencing financial hardship, but it is not a decision to enter into lightly.
To improve your chances of a successful bankruptcy and to ensure that you feel confident and comfortable throughout the entire process, consider hiring a bankruptcy lawyer near you.
FAQs About Bankruptcy Law Firms
What do bankruptcy law firms charge?
Every bankruptcy law firm will have its own rules when it comes to rates and fees. Some of them charge hourly fees, but many charge a flat rate that you will be aware of upfront.
Fees for bankruptcy lawyers typically start around $500 for cases that are straightforward. More complex cases may call for fees closer to around $2,000 or even higher.
Regardless of how your firm charges, make sure you understand the fee structure before you agree to representation.
How can a bankruptcy law firm help with my bankruptcy claim?
A bankruptcy attorney and law firm can help you determine whether bankruptcy is the right choice, and if so, what type of bankruptcy you should file.
During the filing process, they can make sure you meet all deadlines, take care of all your paperwork, and represent you in court when the time comes.
Does working with a law firm mean my bankruptcy will be approved?
No, working with a law firm does not guarantee that your bankruptcy petition will be approved, but it does improve your chances.
Your legal team will ensure that you have built the strongest case possible for yourself and meet all deadlines and submit all required paperwork correctly and on time.