WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN SELECTING A BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY
By: Justine Bellamy
Do you find yourself in a financial jam and you are thinking that bankruptcy is the best option. How do you select the attorney to help you through this? Do you make your decision based on cost or quality of your attorney? When you feel you are already broke it can be tough to think about going to someone who may cost more than others. But, buyer beware, you pay for what you get even when it comes to legal service.
At Miller & Miller, we pride ourselves on being respectful and professional to our clients. There are three factors that we think are important to consider when hiring an attorney. They are:
The first factor is customer service. This is obvious, customer service is important. But, there is more to customer service then just people being nice to you. Customer service is the office setting, the attitude of the staff, client privacy, how clients are treated in person, on the telephone, in court and even after your case is completed. Most importantly, customer service is empathy. It is important that the attorney and staff understand what you are going through. The better they understand, the better they can take care of you.
For many of us, dealing with an attorney, can be intimidating. We sometimes hold back information for fear that we may be looked down upon. Or, we don't ask all the questions we want because we don't want to waste their time. Being a paying customer you have a right to spend as much time with your attorney as needed. Following are more things to consider when meeting with a potential attorney:
-How are you being treated?
Regardless of your reason for hiring an attorney you should be treated with respect and dignity. That should be evident in the staff and attorney's treatment. Do you feel comfortable being in their office? Do you feel relaxed and taken care of? Feeling cared for and respected is priceless.
Is the office organized and clean? Personal privacy can also be a factor when it comes to customer service. Do they talk about clients' private information discreetly or is it done with others around who can hear it? Are they careless with client's paperwork? Do they know who you are when you call in?
What is the attorney's experience? Does he/she handle many legal services or specialize in only one area of the law? Does he have support from his staff when needed? Do you want experienced lawyers who are hands on or an inexperienced attorney who charge less attorney fees? In most cases, an experienced attorney would be more efficient in the end.
The second factor is the attorney .
Following are some questions to ask yourself:
What is the attorney's demeanor? Is he/she dressed professional, neat or sloppy? What does his appearance say about him or her? You may not need your attorney to wear a three piece suit everyday but are his or her clothes acceptable for the position they have? Even if your attorney is more casual in the office, there is acceptable and unacceptable casual. How your attorney carries himself is a direct reflection on you. When he or she stands up in court to represent you will you feel satisfied or embarrassed of who you hired?
Does he or she make you feel like they care? Are they treating you with respect and taking the time to understand your situation and what your needs are? Or are they going through the motions and treating you like a number? Regardless of your reason to visit an attorney, you should not be treated like a failure or less of a person. Chances are you feel bad enough and certainly do not need someone you are paying to make you feel worse.
Is your attorney committed to you as a client? Do you feel comfortable that he has your back? Can you rely on him to be there when you need him, know your case information and be able to protect you when needed?
The third factor when hiring an attorney is the process and cost.
Do you understand the legal situation and process that you need to go through? Did the attorney give you enough information and discuss every option so you know what steps you have to take to resolve your issues? Did you discuss all of the alternatives and the "what ifs"?
Cost can be the biggest issue. But if are quoted an amount that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you get all the details. If someone is charging considerably less than others there may be a real good reason for it. Is the quote for the service for the entire process or are there other costs that come up later? Is the price reduced because you will have limited access to your attorney? Will you spend most of your time dealing with office staff or a paralegal? If it's cheaper is the processing time longer? What about quality of documents, mistakes or changes? Low cost sometimes equals low quality. When dealing with a legal issue that involves the law, paperwork and courts, you as a client need to know that everything is taken care of correctly and in a timely manner. You don't want to find out later that something was missed or done incorrectly. This may cause you additional headaches and fees at a later date. At Miller & Miller we offer a free, no obligation consultation. This is an opportunity for you to meet with an attorney, get your questions answered and discuss the cost and process.
Last but not least, when visiting an attorney, you should not be rushed or pushed into retaining them and/or signing a contract. As well, as you should not be offered a "deal" for retaining the firm sooner. Attorneys that have "deals" and offer "lower charges if you sign today" seems wrong and leaves the feeling of uncertainty about their sincerity and integrity. Take the time to find the one that fits you and will take your case and relationship seriously. After your initial consultation with Miller & Miller us, we will follow up to answer any questions you may have. We never push anyone into retaining us; we let you take the time to make the decision on your own. At Miller & Miller our clients come to us because they are well informed and know they will be treated with respect and we will get the job done.
At Miller & Miller, we pride ourselves on being the difference. We strive to treat our clients like family members. You will not be treated like a number, be rushed to retain us or be given "a deal". Our attorneys are professional, respected and offer exceptional one on one service from beginning to end of your case and beyond. Call us today to set up your free consultation with one of our attorneys. We have offices in Milwaukee and Kenosha. Our office is open from 8:30 - 5:30, Monday - Friday and 9:00 - 12:00 on Saturdays.