Choosing the right lawyer To handle your bankruptcy case, may be the biggest decision of your life. One of the biggest mistakes people make when choosing a bankruptcy lawyer’s first asking how much they charge. With attorneys and lawyers, like everything else in life, you get what you pay for. So are you going to go into the most important financial decision of your life with the cheapest lawyer possible? Just as anything else in life, you get what you pay for. Many people are of the mistaken belief that bankruptcy lawyers are all the same in all they do is fill out paperwork, nothing could be further from the truth. There are so many different laws, loopholes and strategies that can be employed within chapter 7 bankruptcy or chapter 13 bankruptcy, choosing the right attorney becomes critical.
In some situations you could lose hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars simply by picking the wrong bankruptcy attorney. We’ve had numerous clients that have actually lost their homes, lost their cars or lost assets due to choosing the wrong attorney, usually based on price. The simple fact is, the cheaper a bankruptcy lawyer, the less experienced they are. In general with attorneys, the more expensive they are is based on the level of experience they have, not that they randomly chose to charge their clients higher fees. It’s basically like going to get a piece of furniture at Walmart versus a high-priced furniture store, the quality of the products are completely different, the same thing goes for lawyers.
One of our clients had gone to it different bankruptcy law firm before coming to our firm, she chose an attorney simply based on price. This particular client had a home with $150,000 in equity, which she was trying to save before she went in search of a bankruptcy attorney. Like most people filing bankruptcy, she was low on funds so she attempted to find the cheapest attorney possible. Because the cheapest attorneys to file bankruptcy, usually only handle chapter 7 bankruptcy, that attorney talked her into using a chapter 7 bankruptcy, when a chapter 13 bankruptcy would of been the best option. Chapter 7 bankruptcy do not allow you to save secured property such as homes and cars from creditors, it simply discharges your duty to pay the debt. So this particular client saved herself about $750 by going to lease expensive bankruptcy lawyer she could find, and because of doing that she lost her home, and the hundred and $150,000 in equity she had in that home. When she came to all our office, it was determined that had she simply come to us to begin with, we could of filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy for her, saving her home the hundred and $50,000 in equity she had in the home and would not of moved her family and taken her children out of school. Also within a chapter 13 bankruptcy, we could a filed a motion for her to obtain a mortgage modification, which she qualified for but was denied by the bank. In a chapter 13 bankruptcy you can force the bank’s to give you a mortgage modification that you qualify for, even if they had previously denied you. Very few bankruptcy attorneys know this fact, and this is what separates a good and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney from a paper pusher.
So when searching for a bankruptcy attorney or any other attorney, always remember you get what you pay for.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723