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5 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Bankruptcy Attorney

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					                This is an excerpt from the




    CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO
       BANKRUPTCY

                 IN THE FULL GUIDE YOU WOULD GET:

        A basic understanding of the 2 main types of consumer bankruptcy,
        valuable insights into evaluating bankruptcy as a debt reduction tool,
          and practical guidance for finding a quality bankruptcy attorney.

                                 Topics covered:

-   An overview of the bankruptcy process.
-   Key bankruptcy terms like: “discharge,” “automatic stay,” and “exemptions.”
-   Chapter 7 bankruptcy: what it is, how it works, and when it is preferred.
-   Chapter 13 bankruptcy: what it is, how it works, and when it is preferred.
-   How bankruptcy can save a home from foreclosure or a car from repossession.
-   5 good reasons to file bankruptcy.
-   5 good reasons not to file bankruptcy.
-   3 alternatives to filing for bankruptcy.
-   5 questions to ask when interviewing a prospective bankruptcy attorney.




          Want a free copy of this guide?
       Just send an email to bkguide@llgtn.com and look for it in your inbox!
                   5 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN MEETING A
                   PROSPECTIVE BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY


                                                     At	
  some	
  point	
  in	
  your	
  journey	
  to	
  get	
  out	
  of	
  debt,	
  you	
  
How	
  do	
  you	
  choose	
                         may	
  decide	
  to	
  speak	
  with	
  a	
  bankruptcy	
  attorney	
  for	
  a	
  
your	
  bankruptcy	
                                 variety	
  of	
  reasons.	
  	
  A	
  lot	
  of	
  people	
  go	
  just	
  to	
  learn	
  more	
  
attorney?	
  Start	
  with	
                         about	
  how	
  bankruptcy	
  works,	
  while	
  others	
  meet	
  with	
  
these	
  5	
  questions.	
  	
                       an	
  attorney	
  for	
  the	
  specific	
  goal	
  of	
  filing.	
  	
  	
  
                                                     	
  


THE 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK:                              Regardless	
  of	
  your	
  reason,	
  you	
  want	
  to	
  make	
  a	
  wise	
  
	
                                                   decision	
  when	
  you	
  choose	
  a	
  bankruptcy	
  attorney	
  to	
  
1.     What	
  is	
  your	
  background	
            represent	
  you.	
  	
  You	
  are	
  going	
  to	
  pay	
  money	
  to	
  this	
  
       in	
  bankruptcy?	
                           person	
  to	
  perform	
  a	
  service	
  for	
  you,	
  and	
  you	
  deserve	
  
       	
                                            to	
  have	
  the	
  service	
  performed	
  properly	
  and	
  timely.	
  	
  	
  
2.     How	
  does	
  bankruptcy	
                   	
  
       compare	
  with	
  my	
  other	
              In	
  the	
  care	
  of	
  an	
  experienced,	
  competent	
  bankruptcy	
  
       options	
  for	
  getting	
  out	
  of	
      attorney,	
  you	
  should	
  know	
  what	
  to	
  expect	
  from	
  the	
  
       debt?	
  
                                                     start	
  of	
  your	
  case,	
  whether	
  there	
  are	
  any	
  potential	
  
	
  
3.     How	
  much	
  does	
  it	
  cost	
  to	
  
                                                     pitfalls	
  or	
  complications	
  and	
  what	
  can	
  be	
  done	
  about	
  
       file	
  Chapter	
  7	
  or	
  13?	
           them,	
  and	
  how	
  the	
  case	
  should	
  conclude.	
  	
  The	
  
	
                                                   presence	
  and	
  counsel	
  of	
  a	
  seasoned	
  professional	
  can	
  
4.     How	
  much	
  will	
  I	
  see	
  and	
      help	
  make	
  the	
  bankruptcy	
  process	
  fell	
  a	
  little	
  less	
  
       talk	
  to	
  you	
  personally	
             nerve-­‐racking.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
       during	
  my	
  case?	
                       	
  
	
                                                   To	
  help	
  you	
  in	
  choosing	
  a	
  bankruptcy	
  attorney,	
  here	
  
5.     How	
  does	
  your	
  practice	
             are	
  5	
  questions	
  to	
  ask	
  during	
  your	
  initial	
  consultation.	
  	
  
       differ	
  from	
  your	
                      The	
  attorney	
  will	
  ask	
  you	
  numerous	
  questions	
  to	
  get	
  a	
  
       competition?	
                                better	
  understanding	
  of	
  your	
  situation	
  and	
  what	
  can	
  
           	
                                        be	
  done	
  about	
  it.	
  	
  In	
  turn,	
  you	
  should	
  ask	
  the	
  attorney	
  
	
                                                   some	
  questions	
  to	
  get	
  a	
  better	
  feel	
  for	
  their	
  ability	
  to	
  
	
                                                   adequately	
  represent	
  you.	
  	
  
	
                                                   	
  
	
                                                   	
  
                          5 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN MEETING A
                          PROSPECTIVE BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY


       1. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND IN                                      	
     2. HOW MUCH WILL I SEE/TALK TO
       BANKRUPTCY?                                                        	
     YOU PERSONALLY DURING MY CASE?
       	
                                                                 	
     	
  
       This	
  question	
  gets	
  at	
  the	
  attorney’s	
              	
     It	
  is	
  important	
  to	
  know	
  early	
  in	
  the	
  
       competence	
  to	
  handle	
  your	
  case.	
  	
                  	
     bankruptcy	
  filing	
  process	
  what	
  you	
  
       Bankruptcy	
  is	
  a	
  highly	
  specialized	
                   	
     should	
  expect	
  from	
  your	
  attorney.	
  	
  
       area	
  of	
  law	
  that	
  requires	
  attention	
  to	
   	
           Given	
  the	
  nature	
  of	
  the	
  practice,	
  many	
  
       detail	
  and	
  strategic	
  planning.	
  	
  It	
  is	
  not	
   	
     attorneys	
  have	
  paralegals	
  and	
  other	
  
       something	
  that	
  an	
  attorney	
  can	
  just	
               	
     support	
  staff	
  to	
  handle	
  most	
  of	
  the	
  
       do	
  on	
  the	
  side	
  as	
  part	
  of	
  their	
             	
     meetings	
  and	
  communications	
  with	
  
       practice.	
  	
  	
                                                	
     clients,	
  while	
  the	
  attorney	
  attends	
  
                    	
                                                    	
     court,	
  negotiates	
  with	
  other	
  parties,	
  
       To	
  that	
  end,	
  be	
  sure	
  you	
  know	
  by	
  the	
   	
       and	
  oversees	
  the	
  more	
  complicated	
  
       end	
  of	
  your	
  meeting	
  with	
  an	
  attorney:	
   	
            matters	
  of	
  the	
  cases.	
  	
  	
  
       A. How	
  long	
  this	
  attorney	
  has	
                        	
                   	
  
             practiced	
  bankruptcy;	
  	
                               	
     With	
  other,	
  smaller	
  firms,	
  the	
  
       B. What	
  percentage	
  of	
  the	
                               	
     attorney	
  and	
  maybe	
  one	
  assistant	
  
             attorney’s	
  practice	
  is	
                               	
     likely	
  handle	
  all	
  matters	
  from	
  
             bankruptcy;	
                                                	
     answering	
  the	
  phones	
  to	
  meeting	
  all	
  
       C. What	
  percentage	
  of	
  the	
                               	
     the	
  clients	
  to	
  preparing	
  all	
  the	
  
             attorney’s	
  cases	
  are	
  debtor	
  or	
                 	
     bankruptcy	
  forms.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
             consumer,	
  and	
  what	
  percentage	
   	
                       	
  
             are	
  business	
  cases;	
                                  	
     So	
  decide	
  early	
  what	
  you	
  want	
  from	
  
       D. What	
  the	
  attorney	
  does	
  to	
  stay	
                 	
     your	
  bankruptcy	
  attorney,	
  and	
  
             current	
  on	
  developments	
  in	
  the	
   	
                   choose	
  accordingly.	
  	
  	
  
             law.	
  	
  	
  	
                                           	
     	
  
       	
                                                                 	
     	
  
       	
                                                                 	
     	
  
       	
                                                                 	
  
                                                                          	
  
                                                                          	
  
                                                                          	
  
	
  
3                       Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                          Feel free to email me at bkguide@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                          or visit the website at www.llgtn.com.
                  5 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN MEETING A
                  PROSPECTIVE BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY

                                                                     	
  
3. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO FILE                                     	
     As	
  part	
  of	
  your	
  agreement,	
  the	
  
CHAPTER 7 OR CHAPTER 13?                                             	
     attorney	
  may	
  charge	
  further	
  fees	
  if	
  
	
                                                                   	
     any	
  unexpected	
  complications	
  arise	
  
Obviously	
  one	
  of	
  the	
  main	
  concerns	
                  	
     or	
  if	
  additional	
  services	
  are	
  required.	
  	
  	
  
when	
  you	
  look	
  to	
  file	
  bankruptcy	
  is	
                     	
  
the	
  cost.	
  	
  Bankruptcy	
  attorneys	
                               The	
  attorney’s	
  fees	
  for	
  Chapter	
  7	
  are	
  
usually	
  do	
  not	
  charge	
  hourly	
  rates,	
                        typically	
  much	
  less	
  than	
  for	
  Chapter	
  
instead	
  charging	
  a	
  flat	
  fee	
  for	
  their	
                   13,	
  although	
  the	
  attorney	
  usually	
  
services.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
                                         requires	
  most	
  if	
  not	
  all	
  of	
  their	
  fees	
  
	
                                                                          paid	
  up	
  front	
  before	
  the	
  filing	
  of	
  the	
  
As	
  you	
  consider	
  filing	
  bankruptcy	
                             case.	
  	
  	
  
with	
  a	
  particular	
  attorney,	
  you	
  should	
                     	
  
know	
  the	
  following:	
                                                 In	
  Chapter	
  13,	
  most	
  of	
  the	
  time	
  the	
  
	
                                                                          attorney	
  will	
  elect	
  to	
  receive	
  a	
  court-­‐
1. The	
  base	
  fee	
  for	
  representation;	
  	
                       awarded	
  fee	
  that	
  is	
  based	
  entirely	
  
2. The	
  services	
  covered	
  under	
  this	
                            upon	
  the	
  debt	
  in	
  your	
  case.	
  	
  Many	
  
      base	
  fee;	
                                                        firms	
  require	
  little	
  or	
  no	
  up	
  front	
  fees	
  
3. The	
  services	
  not	
  covered	
  under	
                             to	
  file	
  13,	
  with	
  the	
  remaining	
  portion	
  
      the	
  base	
  fee;	
  and	
  	
                                      of	
  the	
  fee	
  paid	
  through	
  your	
  plan.	
  	
  So	
  
4. The	
  cost	
  for	
  the	
  non-­‐base	
  fee	
                         every	
  time	
  you	
  make	
  a	
  Chapter	
  13	
  
      services.	
  	
  	
                                                   payment,	
  a	
  portion	
  of	
  that	
  goes	
  to	
  
      	
                                                                    your	
  attorney.	
  	
  	
  
For	
  Chapter	
  7,	
  most	
  attorneys	
                                 	
  
charge	
  a	
  base,	
  flat	
  fee	
  to	
  prepare,	
  file,	
            	
  
and	
  see	
  a	
  Chapter	
  7	
  through	
                                	
  
completion.	
  	
  The	
  price	
  may	
  vary	
                            	
  
depending	
  upon	
  whether	
  you	
  file	
  
individually,	
  with	
  your	
  spouse,	
  or	
  for	
  
your	
  business.	
  	
  
	
  
	
  



4                Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                   Feel free to email me at bkguide@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                   or visit the website at www.llgtn.com.
                  5 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN MEETING A
                  PROSPECTIVE BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY


4. HOW DOES BANKRUPTCY                                              Unfortunately,	
  there	
  are	
  many	
  
COMPARE WITH MY OTHER OPTIONS                                       attorneys	
  out	
  there	
  that	
  care	
  more	
  
FOR GETTING OUT OF DEBT?                                            about	
  their	
  best	
  interests	
  than	
  yours.	
  	
  
	
                                                                  As	
  you	
  speak	
  with	
  an	
  attorney	
  about	
  
Any	
  good	
  bankruptcy	
  attorney	
  will	
                     bankruptcy,	
  be	
  careful	
  of	
  those	
  that:	
  
help	
  you	
  to	
  evaluate	
  all	
  of	
  your	
                          	
  
options	
  for	
  getting	
  out	
  of	
  debt,	
  even	
  if	
     A. Pressure	
  you	
  into	
  filing	
  when	
  
that	
  means	
  you	
  do	
  not	
  file.	
  	
  They	
                  you	
  only	
  wanted	
  to	
  gather	
  
should	
  analyze	
  your	
  income	
  and	
                              information	
  or	
  ask	
  questions;	
  	
  
expenses,	
  review	
  your	
  assets	
  and	
                      B. Hastily	
  tell	
  you	
  that	
  you	
  have	
  no	
  
liabilities,	
  and	
  discuss	
  with	
  you	
  why	
                    other	
  option	
  but	
  to	
  file;	
  
bankruptcy	
  does	
  or	
  does	
  not	
  make	
                   C. Do	
  not	
  or	
  cannot	
  explain	
  why	
  
sense	
  for	
  your	
  situation.	
  
                                                                          filing	
  makes	
  the	
  most	
  sense	
  for	
  
	
  
                                                                          you;	
  
When	
  you	
  are	
  evaluating	
                                  D. Do	
  not	
  or	
  cannot	
  explain	
  the	
  
bankruptcy	
  as	
  an	
  option,	
                                       consequences	
  of	
  filing;	
  or	
  
here’s	
  what	
  your	
                                            E. Disregard	
  or	
  belittle	
  your	
  other	
  
attorney	
  should	
  explain	
                                           debt	
  resolution	
  options.	
  	
  	
  	
  
to	
  you,	
  and	
  what	
  you	
  
need	
  to	
  understand	
  
before	
  you	
  decide	
  to	
  file:	
  
        	
  
A.   How	
  bankruptcy	
  could	
  help	
  you	
  
     and/or	
  hurt	
  you;	
  
B.   Which	
  of	
  your	
  debts	
  will	
  be	
  
     discharged	
  and	
  which	
  will	
  not;	
  
C.   The	
  process	
  for	
  filing	
  and	
  
     completing	
  your	
  particular	
  case;	
  
D.   Any	
  potential	
  challenges	
  in	
  your	
  
     case.	
  	
  	
  

5                Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                   Feel free to email me at bkguide@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                   or visit the website at www.llgtn.com.
                 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN MEETING A
                 PROSPECTIVE BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY


5. HOW DOES YOUR PRACTICE DIFFER                                   What	
  are	
  some	
  good	
  responses	
  to	
  this	
  
FROM YOUR COMPETITION?                                             question?	
  
	
                                                                 	
  
This	
  is	
  a	
  great	
  question	
  because	
  it	
            A. “I	
  strive	
  to	
  provide	
  the	
  highest	
  
allows	
  the	
  attorney	
  to	
  talk	
  about	
  what	
              quality	
  service	
  to	
  my	
  clients.”	
  	
  
makes	
  them	
  special	
  and	
  unique.	
  	
  	
               B. “I	
  treat	
  my	
  clients	
  the	
  way	
  I	
  
	
                                                                      would	
  want	
  to	
  be	
  treated	
  in	
  the	
  
The	
  attorney	
  can	
  talk	
                                        same	
  situation.”	
  
about	
  what	
  they	
  value,	
                                  C. “I	
  personally	
  answer	
  phone	
  calls,	
  
how	
  they	
  practice	
  law,	
                                       meet	
  with	
  my	
  clients,	
  and	
  work	
  
                                                                        every	
  aspect	
  of	
  your	
  case	
  from	
  
and	
  you	
  learn	
  more	
  
                                                                        start	
  to	
  finish.”	
  	
  
about	
  them	
  as	
  a	
  person,	
                              D. “I	
  educate	
  my	
  clients	
  on	
  their	
  
not	
  just	
  as	
  your	
  potential	
                                options	
  so	
  that	
  they	
  can	
  make	
  the	
  
representative.	
  	
                                                   best,	
  most	
  well-­‐informed	
  decision	
  
	
                                                                      possible.”	
  
You	
  can	
  hear	
  in	
  the	
  attorney’s	
  voice	
  if	
     E. “I	
  am	
  extremely	
  flexible	
  in	
  
they	
  are	
  excited	
  about	
  or	
  proud	
  of	
                  working	
  with	
  my	
  clients,	
  meeting	
  
their	
  practice.	
  What	
  you	
  can	
  gain	
  
                                                                        them	
  when	
  their	
  work	
  schedule	
  
during	
  this	
  conversation	
  is	
  invaluable.	
  	
  	
  
	
                                                                      provides,	
  even	
  if	
  that	
  means	
  after	
  
                                                                        hours	
  or	
  on	
  weekends.”	
  
                                                                   F. “I	
  do	
  my	
  best	
  to	
  answer	
  emails,	
  
                                                                        phone	
  calls,	
  and	
  other	
  inquiries	
  
                                                                        within	
  twenty	
  four	
  hours.”	
  	
  
                                                                   	
  




6               Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                  Feel free to email me at bkguide@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                  or visit the website at www.llgtn.com.
                                                    ABOUT THE AUTHOR



                                                      GORDON BOUTWELL is	
   a	
   bankruptcy	
   and	
   consumer	
  
                                                      protection	
   attorney	
   in	
   Franklin,	
   Tennessee.	
   	
   He	
   has	
  
                                                      practiced	
   law	
   since	
   2006,	
   with	
   most	
   of	
   that	
   time	
  
                                                      dedicated	
   to	
   bankruptcy,	
   personal	
   finance,	
   and	
  
                                                      consumer	
  advocacy.	
  	
  	
  
                                                      	
  
                                                      Over	
  the	
  years	
  he	
  has	
  helped	
  hundreds	
  of	
  individuals,	
  
                                                      couples,	
  and	
  families	
  with	
  their	
  financial	
  problems.	
  	
  He	
  
                                                      believes	
   in	
   treating	
   other	
   people	
   the	
   way	
   he	
   would	
  
                                                      want	
   to	
   be	
   treated	
   in	
   the	
   same	
   situation.	
   	
   He	
   takes	
  the	
  
                                                      time	
  to	
  get	
  to	
  know	
  his	
  clients,	
  and	
  he	
  educates	
  them	
  
                                                      on	
  their	
  options	
  for	
  getting	
  out	
  of	
  debt,	
  helping	
  them	
  to	
  
                                                      understand	
  and	
  evaluate	
  them.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
                                                      	
  
                                                      He	
   believes	
   bankruptcy	
   is	
   a	
   worthwhile	
   tool	
   to	
   help	
  
	
                                                    some	
   (but	
   not	
   all)	
   people	
   get	
   out	
   of	
   debt,	
   and,	
   when	
  
                                                      combined	
  with	
  financial	
  education	
  and	
  counseling,	
  can	
  
       Gordon	
  H.	
  Boutwell,	
  Atty	
            be	
  a	
  springboard	
  to	
  financial	
  independence.	
  	
  	
  
       Lodestone	
  Legal	
  Group	
                  	
  
       198	
  E.	
  Main	
  St.,	
  Ste.	
  4	
       In	
   March	
   2011,	
   Gordon	
   and	
   R.	
   Keith	
   Gordon	
   formed	
  
       Franklin,	
  TN	
  37064	
                     the	
   Lodestone	
   Legal	
   Group	
   in	
   Franklin	
   Tennessee,	
  
       615-­‐807-­‐1064	
  
                                                      with	
   the	
   purpose	
   of	
   assisting	
   business	
   and	
   private	
  
       bkguide@llgtn.com	
  
       www.llgtn.com	
                                clients	
  by	
  exploring	
  legal	
  options,	
  navigating	
  the	
  legal	
  
       	
                                             pitfalls,	
   and	
   providing	
   measurable	
   results	
   through	
  
       	
                                             custom	
  solutions	
  and	
  a	
  commitment	
  to	
  the	
  lost	
  art	
  of	
  
       	
                                             personal	
  care	
  and	
  client	
  service.	
  
                                                      	
  
                                                      Lodestone	
   Legal	
   Group	
   practices	
   in	
   the	
   areas	
   of	
  
                                                      bankruptcy,	
  debt	
  negotiation	
  and	
  settlement,	
  financial	
  
                                                      counseling,	
   residential	
   and	
   commercial	
   real	
   estate,	
  
                                                      estate	
   planning	
   (wills	
   and	
  trusts),	
   and	
  small	
   business	
  
                                                      and	
  corporate	
  law.	
  	
  	
  
                                                      	
  
                                                      	
  
                                                      	
  
                                                      	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
7                         Got a question about your situation or something you read in this guide?
                            Feel free to email me at bkguide@llgtn.com, call me at 615-807-1064,
                                            or visit the website at www.llgtn.com.

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: To help you in choosing a bankruptcy attorney, here are 5 questions to ask during your initial consultation. The attorney will ask you numerous questions to get a better understanding of your situation and what can be done about it. In turn, you should ask the attorney some questions to get a better feel for their ability to adequately represent you.