Every bankruptcy lawyer has a different process when it comes to how they practice. However, there are general steps that you should expect to experience while going through the bankruptcy process. These steps are the introduction, the information gathering/document preparation stage, the document review stage, the filing time, the filing day, the 341 hearing and, finally, post bankruptcy.
Today, we will start with the first step of the bankruptcy process: The introduction.
The introduction is usually done in person or over the phone. Normally, when you call an attorney, you will speak with either the lawyer or the lawyer’s staff. This is where you get to learn a little bit about the attorney. Be sure that when you call, you ask how long the lawyer has been in business, if you will be meeting with an attorney, how many bankruptcies the attorney has done. This is important, because these questions allow you to judge whether this is a place where you are interested in doing business, quickly.
In our firm, we generally have our lawyers meet with you at the first consult, and to speak with you on the phone. We do have a couple of very experienced and trusted paralegals that we allow to conduct initial consults, but that is fairly rare. Further, it is not unusual for a bankruptcy firm to have you deal primarily with a paralegal — particularly during the information gathering/document preparation stage, but you really should meet your attorney before you make it to the 341 hearing.
Once you decide to move forward with an attorney, you move onto the information gathering/document preparation stage. This is the subject of part two of our series.