Avoid Fee Shopping
If you call around to find the cheapest bankruptcy attorney you might just get one. But it is much more important to get experience, competence and responsiveness in a bankruptcy attorney Please do not base your decision on fees. Most bankruptcy attorneys charge a reaonsable fee. Some bankruptcy attorneys charge more than others but they are usually all within range. Make sure that you hire the right attorney even if it means spending a little bit more.
Look for a Specialist
You definitely want to hire a bankruptcy attorney if you are going to file a bankruptcy case. You should ask the attorney how many years he's been filing bankruptcy cases. You should also find out what other areas of law he practices. You probably do not want to hire someone who is just trying out a bankruptcy case for the first time. Use your judgment but opt for someone with a lot of bankruptcy experience. Bankruptcy is complex and it takes many years of practice to master. This is especially true with Chapter 11 and Chapter 13.
Find out how long the initial consultation will be. If you are only given 15 minutes that may not be enough time to go over your entire situation properly. My initial consultations normally last an hour. I think that it takes at least that long to properly address a client's problem and offer him advice. I always give my clients a retainer agreement as well as a step-by-step outline of the entire process from pre-filing to discharge before they leave. I would shy away from attorneys who don't spend a lot of time with you during the initial consultation, or act like they have better things to do. You are important. Let the attorney know that and if they don't act accordingly, find someone else. This is an important time for you to "interview" the attorney. Try to ask a lot of questions and make sure you disclose everything whether you think it's important or not.
I can't tell you how many clients I've seen skip to the signature line without reading the retainer agreement. Take a few minutes and read the agreement. Make sure you understand what you are getting for your money. Will the attorney represent you on all bankruptcy matters? Will you have time to make payments to the attorney? Will the attorney file the case promptly? If you don't understand the agreement make sure that you ask for clarification.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
Finding a good bankruptcy attorney may involve a lot of research. Family and friends may not offer a lot of help because people don't normally talk openly about bankruptcy. You can ask other lawyers you've dealt with, or browse attorneys on sites with reviews such as avvo.com. Make sure the lawyer is competent and experienced but also make sure that you have a good vibe about the person. That is very important in my experience as well. Good luck.