Chicago Bankruptcy Question: How do I find a good bankruptcy lawyer in Chicago?

Chicago Bankruptcy Question of the Day: How do I find a good bankruptcy lawyer in Chicago?  Finding a good bankruptcy attorney in Chicago can be a difficult and nerve racking process.  You have a lot of options to choose from and it seems that every lawyer promises to be the best for you.  The first step in hiring a bankruptcy lawyer in Chicago is narrowing the field to which attorneys you may want to work with.

Clearly if you are reading this, you are somewhat internet savvy and the internet is an excellent resource to start with.  Go to Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. and perform a specific search for "Bankruptcy Attorney in (your town)".  This will bring up a long list of attorneys.  Take some time, review the websites and make a list of the attorneys that you think may be worth meeting with.  The specific items that you should look for include:

Legal Focus:  Plenty of attorneys claim to be bankruptcy attorneys when, in reality, bankruptcy is only a small part of their practice.  The rest of their business is completely unrelated to bankruptcy, such as personal injury, workman's compensation, immigration, divorce, etc.  You want an attorney whose practice is focused on the help that you need.

Geographic Focus:  Many bankruptcy attorneys you will read about may well be amongst the best lawyers in Indiana, Georgia, Tennessee, etc.  That does not mean that they are amongst the best bankruptcy lawyers in Chicago.  You want an attorney that focuses their practice on your area and your area alone, as this is the experience that counts in your case.

Experience:   Since the economy entered recession, there are a lot of new attorneys in the bankruptcy field.  Some are fresh out of law school and some are attorneys with years of experience in other fields who are now trying their hand at bankruptcy.  Make sure that the attorney that you meet with has significant experience in bankruptcy specifically.  Be careful with the big bankruptcy mills of the world.  Sure, they have a combined 5,000 years of experience, but the attorney that you actually meet with is often new and inexperienced.

Free Consultations:  In our opinion, no lawyer should charge an individual considering bankruptcy for a consultation.  Several firms do, however, even if in the end you choose not to hire them.  Your consultation should not only be the attorney reviewing your options, but also your opportunity to interview the attorney to ensure that they are who you want to hire.  Why should you pay for that?

Convenience:  This is a competitive field and there is no reason that you should have to travel far from home or work to meet with a qualified lawyer.  Additionally, you should not have to take time off from work, missing out on much needed income, in order to meet with a bankruptcy attorney on their schedule.  Make sure that the attorney you choose is close to home and available when you are.

After reviewing the various lawyers available to you, you should be able to narrow the field to a short list of attorneys that might actually be worth hiring.  This is only the first step in the process, however.  Now you should take some time and do some research.  Tips on that coming tomorrow.

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