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What should my expectations be during the free consultation?

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  • What should my expectations be during the free consultation?

    This afternoon I will be meeting with an attorney for the "free consultation". He told me I didn't need to bring anything. I am trying to figure out if I could qualify for bankruptcy based off of some ballpark figures. However if there is no chance I was hoping not to pay the large fee just to find out. So I am wondering what I should expect this afternoon and what type of questions he may ask (or I should ask). And if there are signs to look for (or red flags) to get an idea if the guy is any good. Lastly, is it possible to even find out if you can qualify for BK without dropping the money on someone?

    Thanks for the help!

  • #2
    I brought a bunch of info to my free consultation--1040s, a couple recent pay stubs, bank account figures (not the actual statement, but just a list of the current balances), and a list of monthly expenses. When I got there, they had me fill out a 4 page worksheet and it was helpful to have those actual numbers available rather than just ball-parking the numbers off the top of my head. The attorney then sat down with me and reviewed everything and made an initial determination that I would qualify for Chapter 7. She answered all specific questions I had and gave me a couple strategies on how to prep things for filing (no big buys on the credit cards, what to do with the tax refund I would be receiving before filing, etc.). She had a very up-front list of what she would charge to file.

    For the record... I went with a well-known bankruptcy firm. If you live in Chicago and have ever watched TV in the past 20 years or so, you know the one I'm talking about. Everything went smoothly from start to finish and the lawyer was great with answering questions during the entire process.

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    • puppiesrock
      puppiesrock commented
      Editing a comment
      So funny - I went with a well-known bankruptcy firm here, too. They are also on TV and have been for years LOL. Everything for us, too, went smooth as silk, start to finish.

  • #3
    Thanks Teekay for the response!

    Well I did go yesterday afternoon, and we actually did give ballpark figures. The attorney had a pad and wrote everything down (no form ). He did ask all the same questions, luckily I was fairly certain on the information. The guy was well reviewed, in fact one of the few in my area. He did tell me my case is fairly simple and was confident I could qualify for Ch 7.

    He sent me home with a pretty large packet however to fill out, I assume it was kind of the same stuff you did. I am suppose to drop it off to him and I am hoping he will be much more thorough and give me a more definitive answer.

    I live in Missouri and the guy had the best reviews in my area by far so I gave him a shot. /shrug

    Should you know what you will qualify for BEFORE paying any fees? I assume so (forgot to ask) but wanted to know what the norm is.

    Thanks again!



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    • #4
      You should walk away from the consultation with a pretty good idea of what you qualify for, but few attorneys are going to go through the whole means test calculation without having a retainer in place.
      This post does not constitute legal advice. If you use this advice instead of that of a lawyer, God help you.
      Filed CH 7: 5/11/17 341: 6/12/17 Discharge: 8/14/17

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      • #5
        I felt fairly confident walking out, and some weight was off my shoulders. Then I got a rush of anxiety once I found out I was wrong on my last home appraisal. But that's not his fault. This packet is insane though, its taking me forever to gather all the information. =)

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