Bankruptcy has become a complicated process full of landmines for self-inflicted injuries by the self-represented. Much becomes irrevocable when the petition is filed. Possible sources for the fee needed for capable representation are a tax refund, or the money that would have been sent for payments on debts to be discharged saved by discontinuing those payments. Before any further time passes, consult with an experienced bankruptcy practitioner. If you do not know own, use the attorney-finder at www.nacba.org.
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I have filmed a video explaining the problems faced by using a cheap attorney to represent you in bankruptcy & am posting the link to this video below. I have also posted a link to a couple of articles to explain what makes hiring an attorney that will actually provide you with legal advice worthwhile. Ms Sinclair & I answer questions every day from people who thought they could cut corners by hiring the cheapest attorney they could find for their case only to discover that once a case is filed, you are stuck with many of the mistakes you & your attorney have made by failing to plan for your case. Hope this perspective helps!
As Ms. Sinclair and Ms. Bunce suggest, using no lawyer or the cheapest lawyer is not a good idea. You get what you pay for. If you are truly indigent, there are several programs in Maryland that provide pro bono legal services (Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, etc.), but if you have resources to hire counsel, you should do so. Spending $2000-3000 on filing bankruptcy is not expensive for the benefit it provides.
I agree with the other attorneys. Hiring a cheap bankruptcy attorney (or not using an attorney at all--is not a good idea) is not a good use of your funds. People contact me on a regular basis, looking to solve problems created by "cheap" bankruptcy attorneys, that did not file the bankruptcy forms correctly. Also, people who did not hire an attorney, contact me regularly, to get help to complete their forms correctly. Once these folks meet with their chapter 7 Trustee they realize that they have problems with their bankruptcy case; that they need to hire a competent bankruptcy attorney.
In appropriate circumstances, I suggest to potential clients that they may be able to stop paying their creditors and use those funds to hire a competent bankruptcy attorney. Paying $2000.00 to hire a good bankruptcy attorney will save you money and time in the long run.
No attorney client relationship is established until both parties sign a retainer agreement. The questioner is advised to hire a lawyer to address this issue and obtain complete legal advice.