Looking for an attorney can be an incredibly stressful time – especially if it is a bankruptcy attorney. When people look for a divorce attorney, or a real estate attorney, they normally ask people they trust for a recommendation. With the embarrassment most people feel about needing to consult with a bankruptcy lawyer, they often turn to Google and type in “bankruptcy attorney near me” to begin their search.

There are a few problems with this approach.

Have No Fear

First and foremost, stop fearing the stigma of bankruptcy. As I explain in a previous blog, people who declare bankruptcy are doing what is right for themselves, their family and their future; they are not bad people, they are not failures, and they are certainly not doing anything wrong.

In fact, let’s remember that bankruptcy is a financial rehabilitation and relief tool. The Federal Government created it expressly for people with overwhelming debts. If you are paralyzed by overwhelming debt, you are not able to contribute to the economy in the ways that Congress wants you to. (Keep your eyes out, we will talk more about this in an upcoming blog.) That said, I do understand the emotions and anxieties that clients are experiencing when they call me. Please note, while bankruptcy records are public, the chances of anyone finding out you filed for bankruptcy, other than those people you tell, are extremely small.

Find the Right Lawyer

Doing a Google search for “bankruptcy attorney near me” will limit your ability to find the right bankruptcy attorney for you. Maybe the closest bankruptcy attorney near you would suffice. Chances are she will not. Further, chances are you found that lawyer first because he paid the for a Google ad. I suggest you learn about the lawyer. Visit the lawyer’s website. What is her level of experience? Search client reviews and testimonials. Ask around. Lastly, like in all walks of life, there are shady lawyers out there. In New Jersey, you can check if the lawyers has any ethical issues.

Don’t Get Scammed

You often will get inadequate and inaccurate search results if you just rely on Google. The first thing you will see are paid advertisements. Next, you will see directory listings. Th attorney generally pays for these listings. What this means is that the search results will provide what is best for the lawyer and for Google. This may not be what is best for you. Also, you may get results that are not even lawyers. You may see listings for so called “credit repair companies” and debt consolidation outfits. Many of these businesses are scams. They will not work in your best interests.

Do Your Homework

So, if you need a bankruptcy lawyer, do a little research. Think about what questions you have and if the attorney answers them on her website. Simply searching “bankruptcy attorney near me” may not get you to the right place.  And honestly, more than 95% of your bankruptcy case work is normally done by phone, email and virtual meetings, so when picking the best bankruptcy lawyer and bankruptcy law firm for yourself, don’t limit your choices by just searching for a bankruptcy lawyer near you.

As always, please call me, Karina Lucid at Lucid Law, Debt Relief Attorneys, with any questions about this blog or if you have other financial difficulties.