Do you get what you pay for when it comes to attorney fees for a bankruptcy? Most of the time… YES!I am a frequent visitor to the website Avvo. For those of you who don’t know about that website, it is a place for people to ask questions of attorneys and for the attorneys to give answers. Hopefully this results in people getting their legal needs met and sometimes attorneys receiving clients for answering those questions.

Obviously I answer questions regarding debt, bankruptcy, real estate, foreclosure, etc.

I am absolutely amazed at how many times I see a variation of the following: I already filed bankruptcy with another attorney, BUT…

  • My call has not been returned. My question still has not been answered.
  • I don’t think I got the right answer.
  • My attorney said my representation did not cover that.
  • My attorney said representation ended when I received a discharge and it would cost $X to handle it.

I think you get the point – there are many more similar examples. I am convinced that most of these people probably went on multiple bankruptcy consultations before ultimately deciding to go with the person that was priced the lowest.

It is an old one, but a good one: You usually get what you pay for!

If you wanted a bargain basement price, then you should not be surprised when your attorney wants to charge you for every little “extra” or doesn’t return/answer every single question.

I put “extra” in quotes because not all retainer agreements with attorneys are the same.

Not surprisingly, I have seen copies of retainer agreements for bankruptcy representation from other Florida bankruptcy attorneys. (I am sure they have seen copies of mine as well). But I am amazed at what other Florida bankruptcy attorneys consider an “extra” charge that I do not charge for separately and for which I consider a basic service.

For example: reaffirmation agreements, credit counseling course, debtor education course,  more than 50 creditors, more than 100 creditors. How about pulling the credit report itself because you are not sure how many creditors you even have or who they are?

I wonder how much that “cheap” Florida bankruptcy attorney ends up charging the price-conscious bankruptcy client in the end?  100 more, $250 More, $500 MORE? Is the most “expensive” attorney still the most? Probably not.

That more “expensive” attorney, who may be willing to answer questions for free on a website like Avvo, now may seem like a great deal!  It may not be too late to choose that attorney.

Does your “cheap” attorney allow you to refer calls from creditors to his/her office while you are in the process of completing the paperwork and paying all the necessary fees? Are you even represented by the “cheap” attorney before your fee is paid in full?

Are you able to contact your attorney days, months, or even years after your case is closed because you are having a problem with your credit report, or a creditor contacting you who should shouldn’t be, or maybe you just need a copy of your discharge?

I think this is the worst bankruptcy representation: Does your creditor file your chapter 7 for less than the full fee and accept post-dated checks from you or a relative for the remainder of the fee?

There are some law firms who do this, and it may seem like a great deal. You think: They are helping me get out of debt today. And if I am out of debt today, I can pay them back later when I have some breathing room.

Well, it doesn’t always work out so well. For whatever reason, you can’t pay it back a month or two later. Your relatives who were paying the fee maybe now have their own financial difficulties and can’t make the “required” payment.

What happens then? Well, it isn’t so pretty from what I hear has happened in other states. This law firm that was hired to protect you may become worse than some of the creditors and bill collectors you were trying to avoid. They may start hounding you for payment worse than the creditors themselves were doing before you filed bankruptcy!

What did that accomplish? Weren’t you supposed to get relief by filing bankruptcy? Now it may feel like you are in the same position as before, and that was not the goal. What do you think will happen if you need assistance on your closed bankruptcy later if that attorney did not get paid the full fee? Good luck getting your post-petition problem solved. Good luck getting copies of documents that you can’t find later.

All bankruptcy attorneys definitely are not created equal. So it may be a huge mistake to pick your attorney based on price alone. You need to feel comfortable and confident that your attorney will handle your matter with attention and care. Price alone should not be the determining factor for debt relief and future financial stability.

Call 407-749-0080 now for a free consultation.