With so many bankruptcy lawyers in San Diego, and the numbers increasing each year, the legal industry is being flooded with an abundance of novice practitioners who hold themselves out as experienced bankruptcy lawyers but don’t truly have the knowledge or skill necessary to get the job done correctly. Choosing the right attorney can mean the difference between a smooth bankruptcy filing and obtaining needed debt relief, or having a complicated and messy case that results in multiple hearings, dismissal of your case and having to start all over, or worse, the trustee taking away your assets and selling them to pay off your creditors.
In order to find the best bankruptcy lawyers in San Diego, you’ll want to follow some simple tips and common sense advice. You’ll want to hire an expert, as opposed to a general litigation attorney. You’ll want to make sure that your lawyer specializes in San Diego bankruptcy filings as opposed to hiring a lawyer than handles cases throughout the State of California. An exclusively local attorney will give you the best chance of a smooth filing. Other attorneys who practice throughout the state may not be as familiar with the attitudes of local judges and trustees as a lawyer who practices exclusively in San Diego County. Follow this guide to help you find the best bankruptcy lawyers in San Diego:
Pitfalls are abundant for the novice lawyer who is not a seasoned expert in debt relief law, yet is bold enough to hold himself or herself out as a proficient bankruptcy lawyer. Filing without a full command of the applicable laws, rules, and knowledge of the practices and attitudes of local San Diego county judges and trustees, is a sure recipe for disaster.
Inexperienced practitioners who hold themselves out as bankruptcy lawyers in the complex arena of debt relief law frequently file bankruptcy when it is not necessary or file a case incorrectly, which can lead to dismissal of a case, investigation by the trustee, investigation by the U.S. Trustee, and a whole host of other problems commonly encountered by inexperienced lawyers. This is a problem that is becoming more and more frequent with the influx of inexperienced lawyers filing bankruptcies in San Diego County.
When selecting a law office to handle your case, find an expert, that is, an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy. Expert bankruptcy lawyers who specialize in bankruptcy will assure you the best chance of success. You wouldn’t go to a Chiropractor to get your tooth fixed. Why go to a criminal defense lawyer to have your bankruptcy prepared?
Ask the lawyer that you plan to hire what his or her practice areas are and if he or she handles any matters other than debt relief cases? Ask if they handle general real estate, litigation, criminal, or other types of cases, that should be a red flag indicating that the firm does not specialize in debt relief and bankruptcy law.
From the pool of expert bankruptcy lawyers, further narrow your focus to those lawyers or firms that specializes only in San Diego bankruptcy.
Ask the firm if they handle any cases in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, or any county other than San Diego County. The best bankruptcy lawyers in San Diego are the ones who practice exclusively in San Diego County and therefore are most familiar with the attitudes and predispositions of the local judges and trustees. Knowledge of how the local judges and trustees usually decide cases is invaluable and can only be learned by regularly appearing before local judges and trustees. And it cannot be learned from a book, as judges and trustee are human and their attitudes and practices may change from time to time.
Make sure that your lawyer has at least 7 years of San Diego bankruptcy law experience. It takes about 7 years of filing bankruptcy in San Diego to master the process, sufficiently hone one’s skills, and become familiar with the unique attitudes and views and of each of the local trustees and judges that will decide your case.
You don’t need a lawyer with 30-40 years of experience and actually such a lawyer will be on the verge of retirement and less likely to give you the personal attention you need and should demand. Ideally, you’ll want a lawyer with anywhere between 7 -14 years of consistent bankruptcy law experience.
The best bankruptcy lawyers in San Diego have their offices located near the San Diego Bankruptcy Court and location of the bankruptcy trustee hearings. They regularly appear in the courthouse and at the trustee hearings, so it is essential for them to establish their office near the location of the Bankruptcy Court and trustee and U.S. Trustee hearings.
When you call some law firms, you will put through a very unpleasant experience of having to talk to a nonlawyer salesperson, who may present himself or herself as a specialist, or clerk, or paralegal, or some other title other than a lawyer or attorney. This should raise an immediate red flag. A nonlawyer evaluating your case may be nothing more than a salesperson, especially if they refuse to discuss fees before come down to their office. Many firms have sales associates whose sole job is to convince you to pay the firm money and sign a retainer agreement before you are ever able to speak with a lawyer.
Make sure that when you call a lawyer or law firm that you are considering hiring you are able to speak directly with a lawyer. You need a lawyer, not a salesperson, to explain your rights and your filing options, to explain the benefits and the protections available to you, and to properly answer all of your questions. A sales associate does not possess the knowledge or skill to counsel you. Use your common sense: if you are not worth the lawyers time, then the law firm is not worth your time and imagine how you will be treated once they have your money. How they treat you now when you want to talk to a lawyer is a good indication of how they will treat you later.
Parking in Downtown San Diego can be very expensive. Most of the bankruptcy lawyers in the downtown area do not offer free parking, or they pay for 1/2 of you parking, because if they paid for your parking they would have to raise their fees. You are filing bankruptcy. Money is tight. Parking is going to be a consideration.
Bankruptcy Legal Center is perfectly positioned directly across the street from Horton Plaza, which offers free parking for up to 3 hours with validation. You get to meet with an expert bankruptcy lawyer, in downtown, and without having to pay for expensive downtown parking.