What You Should Expect at Your Initial Bankruptcy Consultation
(1) To have a free bankruptcy consultation of one hour (or more) with a bankruptcy attorney, not a paralegal.
Your bankruptcy consultation should not be a with a paralegal. Paralegals are not qualified to give you legal advice. Any firm that has you meet with a paralegal that gives legal advice is violating both the laws and California State Bar Ethics Rules against the unauthorized practice of law by a non-attorney. Can you trust a law firm like that to properly represent you?
(2) To have your free initial bankruptcy consultation with a highly experienced bankruptcy attorney who specializes in bankruptcy law only.
With the complex bankruptcy laws full of traps for inexperienced attorneys, using a part time bankruptcy attorney can be a disaster. What do you have at risk?
(3) At your initial bankruptcy consultation you should be treated with respect by the bankruptcy attorney and the staff.
You will be working as a team with the bankruptcy attorney and staff. You must have mutual trust and respect. You need to be comfortable with them to get the best result. Keep in mind that the bankruptcy attorney is interviewing you as well to determine if the attorney is willing to take you as a client. Open and complete honesty is important on both ends.
(4) To be given honest, complete, and useful information as to all your options.
The advice should be based on what is best for your financial situation, not the bankruptcy attorneys’ bottom line. If non-bankruptcy options make more sense than they should be discussed
(5) Your initial bankruptcy consultation should not be just a disguised sales pitch.
The consultation is about knowing your situation and your options. If you are not getting a real consultation about your situation it is time to go somewhere else.
(6) To have all your questions answered by the bankruptcy attorney.
If the attorney cannot or does not answer your questions, how can you make good decisions as to what to do. Do not let then give you the “bums rush” to get you on the dotted line.
(7) To have the options & services to be provided explained in plain English not “Legalese.”
If the attorney cannot explain what the what is going to happen in plain English maybe they do not understand it well enough.
(8) At your initial bankruptcy consultation you should have the fees explained as to what is and what is NOT included in basic fees.
You should know exactly what is covered and what is not. There should be no negative surprises.
(9) No high-pressure sales tactics!
You have enough pressure from creditors. There is no excuse for being pressured by a bankruptcy attorney. If you are about to suffer an immediate loss, then it should be the circumstances and not the attorney supplying the pressure.