Bankruptcy lawyers or chapter 11 lawyers have a critical job at hand, and it’s a job for a specialist. That’s why, even if a law firm deals with bankruptcy cases, it doesn’t mean they have specialized in the domain. Therefore, clients looking for a high-quality bankruptcy lawyer must determine whether the attorney they are looking for has the expertise and in-depth knowledge of bankruptcy and its dynamics.
But how do you determine if a bankruptcy attorney is suitable? Especially if you have never met them before or don’t have enough background knowledge about the laws, it can be tough to pick whether your attorney is the right one for the job.
The best way to deal with the situation is to ask questions from your prospective lawyer. While some people think it’s not nice, it’s perhaps the right way to go about it, as it saves time and effort for everyone.
This post will look at some essential questions you must ask your bankruptcy attorney to check their competence. It will help you to make a better decision for your bankruptcy case.
What is Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is also known as ‘Reorganization Bankruptcy’. Businesses that go bankrupt but want to keep operating while they restructure their financial setup to pay their dues fall under chapter 11 bankruptcy.
When a business files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it can prevent calls from debtors, and they get additional time to pay their bills while operating.
How Does Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Work?
Chapter 11 bankruptcy may be forced onto a business by three or more creditors in the bankruptcy court. Also, business owners can voluntarily file for chapter 11.
As a chapter 11 bankruptcy case is filed, the creditors cannot take action. Meanwhile, business owners must provide a restructured plan within four months. In many cases, this duration can be extended to 18 months.
The reorganization plan indicates how the business will run, and that should allow the business owners to pay back the creditors to clear their financial obligations. Typically, the restructuring plans include:
- Cutting down business expenses
- Downsizing employees
- Freeing up the assets
Typically, the creditors go through with the reorganization plan. However, the other option is to go for Chapter 7, which may lead to liquidation, and the creditors may end up with nothing.
Questions to Ask Your Bankruptcy Attorney
Here are some critical questions to ask your bankruptcy attorney.
- Is it Necessary to File for Bankruptcy?
Perhaps the most pivotal question of all, this question can easily decide whether you should go with the current attorney or look elsewhere. Typically, a reasonable bankruptcy attorney looks at various dynamics of the case before concluding whether you should go for filing for bankruptcy.
However, if you hear an immediate Yes without sharing any case details, it’s a sign that the attorney is keen to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy.
If you have a qualified lawyer, they will ask for details and talk about how filing can make it easier for you to fight the financial crisis. Moreover, they will elaborate on the different types of bankruptcy.
- What’s So Unique About Your Firm?
If you’re going to work with a firm, ask what makes them unique. But, of course, the response to this question must be different and measurable. So, don’t fall for terms like ‘we are dependable,’ or ‘we rank at the top, etc.
Instead, look for answers that quantify their success and can be proven with the help of tangible evidence. Good law firms provide free consultations before they sign the deal for filing the petition. Focus on how the firm helps you understand the dynamics of the case. It should be a distinguishing factor and something that makes them unique from others.
- Are there any Alternatives to Filing for bankruptcy?
This question shows how much your lawyer knows about bankruptcy cases and the alternative options. It should indicate their knowledge of the area. For example, lawyers may talk about Chapter 7 and 13, giving you a decent idea of what should work best for your case.
Good lawyers talk about the pros and cons of each bankruptcy alternative, so it’s easier to understand and make a decision that suits your needs.
- Is There a Possible Trouble in My Case?
Bankruptcy cases can be pretty versatile, so each case has unique problems. As a filer, it’s essential to be aware of those troubles to better prepare for the case. Here, it’s essential to consider that the bankruptcy court keeps an eye on your actions before and after filing for the case.
For instance, if you bought expensive products before filing, it’s a red flag that you might have attempted to conceal your assets. So, these actions can cause complications. Therefore, competent lawyers talk about possible troubles and threats linked to the case, which helps prevent these troubles from occurring.
- Will the Lawyer Accompany You to the Court?
Bankruptcy courts can be daunting to face. However, if your lawyer is there in the court meetings, it can help you and make it easier for you to deal with the courts. Hence, it’s essential to ask this question to clear up any confusion.
More importantly, if you are too nervous about facing the courts alone, ensure that your lawyer agrees to attend. In some cases, law firms send an alternative lawyer if the original attorney cannot attend the meeting.
- Will there be a Written Agreement?
Make sure to pen down everything in the contract. Don’t rely on verbal agreements while hiring a bankruptcy lawyer. Otherwise, there could be severe financial or practical consequences. On the other hand, written agreements safeguard lawyers and clients and make the environment more workable for both.
In addition, read and approve the agreement points to ensure there is no ambiguity. Moreover, it’s recommended that each party keeps a copy of the agreements.
Quick Questions to Identify the Background of the Bankruptcy Lawyer
Here are some additional questions to check the professional background of your bankruptcy lawyer.
- How Long Have You Been Taking Bankruptcy Cases?
- How long have you been working with this Firm?
- How Much of Your Law Practice Dedicated to Bankruptcy Law?
- How Many bankruptcy cases do you take every month?
- Do you have individuals or businesses as your clients?
Asking the right questions to your bankruptcy lawyer can make it easier to choose the right option for your cases. Now that you know what to focus on, it should become easier to hire the right professional to handle your chapter 11 bankruptcy case.
Vivek is a published author of Meidilight and a cofounder of Zestful Outreach Agency. He is passionate about helping webmaster to rank their keywords through good-quality website backlinks. In his spare time, he loves to swim and cycle. You can find him on Twitter and Linkedin.