Our office receives phone calls from potential clients several times a day, several times a day we are asked the same question, and several times a day we give the same unsatisfying answer:
Client: How much do you charge to file bankruptcy?
Staff: It really depends upon your unique situation, what type of case we would file, and how complex it is.
Client: Ok, but how much will it cost?
It is a simple question, and one you would think a bankruptcy attorney should be able to answer, but it is a loaded question. It is like asking a dentist how much it will cost to fix your teeth without ever having him look in your mouth. Until we truly understand you, your situation, and any potential problems there is no good way to give you a price quote.
So if I can’t give you a price over the phone, how can all those other attorneys who advertise cheap bankruptcies do it? Well, they can’t. Odds are the price they quote is for a basic case with no problems, and most of the time when you meet with them it will end up costing you more than advertised in hidden fees. Cut-rate attorneys and petition preparers have done an excellent job at convincing the general public that all bankruptcy consists of is filling out forms, that it is as simple as playing mad-libs. The truth is that bankruptcy is one of the most complex and difficult fields of law and an unskilled attorney might not be smart enough to see potential problems.
For example, I met with a client who seemed to have a simple straightforward case, in fact they had been quoted a fee of $900 by another attorney over the phone. I met with this gentleman, and while at first it seemed straightforward, but it eventually came to light that he used to be a builder, and that if we filed bankruptcy he was likely to be challenged with multiple non-dischargeability lawsuits based on state law. It was s simple passing comment that changed his case from a simple to complex.
We bankruptcy attorneys fully understand that price is an issue, but the most important thing for anyone considering bankruptcy is to get good information. Find an attorney who knows what they are doing, one that you feel comfortable with, and then arm yourself with knowledge. Most reputable attorneys will meet with you for free so you have nothing to lose. Remember, filing bankruptcy is a serious legal matter — how it is done could have consequences on your future. So when you call an attorney, meet with them first, get a price second.