Filing for bankruptcy might be your answer to getting out from under crushing debt. It is not an easy process, though. There are complex legal filings necessary to complete a bankruptcy, which is why you will likely need a lawyer. Finding the right one is critical to your success, though. 

An uninformed bankruptcy lawyer could mess up your paperwork, fail to give you all the options you have in your bankruptcy, and cost you more than a more competent attorney. So what should you expect from a bankruptcy lawyer? 

Why Hire a Bankruptcy Lawyer? 

Individuals filing for bankruptcy have the option of doing so without the assistance of an attorney. However, it is not a good idea for the majority of people.

A capable bankruptcy attorney will review your financial situation and make recommendations. The answer for you might not be bankruptcy. Perhaps debt consolidation or another alternative would be the better option and help save your credit. 

The goal isn’t just to get advice on whether bankruptcy is the right choice for your situation, though. A lawyer will handle the paperwork and ensure you get the full benefit from the process.

Bankruptcy is an umbrella term for several legal options, such as Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Each one will affect you in a different way. 

Every state has different rules, too, and a lawyer can help you understand them. The exemption system, for example, allows you to keep some of your property even if you file. Without a lawyer, you may give up assets that you could keep. 

What Should You Expect From a Bankruptcy Lawyer? 

It is challenging to hire the right lawyer if you are not sure what to look for in an attorney. 


Obviously, competence tops the list of things you have a right to expect from a bankruptcy lawyer. Of course, not all bankruptcy cases are complex, but even the easy ones have some tricky paperwork. Ask any attorney you are considering hiring if they typically handle cases similar to yours. For example, are you filing as an individual or a business? How about your assets? 

You want a lawyer that knows how to manage your situation. An attorney that typically handles corporate bankruptcies might not be the best option for an individual, for instance. 


You are not paying a bankruptcy lawyer to talk you through the process. They should take responsibility for filling out all the paperwork for the court. The lawyer may ask you to fill out an information packet. Most will take the information you provide and plug it into software that helps generate the proper court forms and other official forms. 

Once complete, the lawyer should review the papers with you to ensure accuracy. That way, you both know the documents have the correct financial and personal information. 

They Will Stick to the Timeline

 It is possible you will have a strict timeline as part of your bankruptcy. You may need to provide forms to a trustee, for example, or to the court by a specific date. The lawyer should keep you on deadline for your bankruptcy filings. Otherwise, you could delay the process, pay fines, lose certain benefits, or even have your case dismissed. 

Be At All Hearings

A lawyer is your advocate in all court proceedings, including hearings. That means they should personally appear in court for or with you. 

All court filings require a mandatory 341 meeting of creditors. That is one appearance that requires your lawyer to represent you. There may also be additional hearings, such as one to confirm your repayment plan for Chapter 13 and a hearing that reaffirms your debt secured by collateral such as a car you are still paying for.

Everything In Writing

You should get a written agreement from the lawyer that details the case and the steps they intend to take on your behalf. The agreement should include a breakdown of the fees you will need to pay, including those due to the court and those for the work from the attorney’s office. It should be clear whether you are paying a flat fee or by the hour. 

The lawyer should also provide you with a complete list of documents you will need to provide for your bankruptcy, as well as copies of completed paperwork on your behalf. 

Frequent Updates

Your bankruptcy lawyer should update you often about your case and its progress. You should be able to talk with the lawyer and discuss the handling of the case as well. Ask how often you can expect an update and have that written into your agreement. 

Representing yourself in your bankruptcy is risky. Instead, find an attorney specializing in this unique aspect of the law. If you are in Georgia, turn to the state’s largest bankruptcy filer. Contact Clark & Washington P.C. to see what your options are for bankruptcy.