Years ago, few attorneys specialized in any particular area of the law. These "general practitioners" handled criminal cases, family law matters, real estate disputes, and a host of other complex legal matters. Today law schools teach aspiring attorneys the general principles in many different legal disciplines, and the bar exam tests the basic knowledge of these subjects. However, the idea of the "general practitioner" is outdated. In today’s world, a complex legal matter such as a bankruptcy case is best handled by an attorney that has specialized knowledge and experience.
Bankruptcy law is an area of the law that many attorneys avoid – and for good reason! Bankruptcy law is a complex amalgamation of federal and state laws, court rules, case precedent, and customs. While the federal Bankruptcy Code is intended to be applied uniformly across the country, bankruptcy judges in different districts have interpreted and applied the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code differently. For this reason it is often important to know how the views and opinions of the bankruptcy court judge assigned to your case. Additionally, your bankruptcy attorney is familiar with the negotiation practices of your creditors and can anticipate an outcome before your case is filed.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney is able to review your case and identify any potential problems. For instance, it may be advantageous to wait a month or longer to file your case. Perhaps you have a preferential transfer, or your income is too high because of a bonus you received five months ago. Your bankruptcy attorney knows which questions to ask and how to avoid problems in your case. As the saying goes, "there is no substitute for experience."
An attorney who practices primarily bankruptcy is also able to move quickly and efficiently through the stages of your case. Bankruptcy courts are streamlined to provide quick relief to deserving debtors, and your bankruptcy attorney has customized the processes in the legal office to maximize efficiency. This not only saves you time, but also money.
Using your family attorney or cousin who just passed the bar may sound appealing, or may even save a few dollars up front, but the costs may quickly mount up when you experience problems in your case. When you think about it, hiring a bankruptcy attorney for a bankruptcy case is a no brainer. The bankruptcy attorney works every day in the bankruptcy law and can handle your case quickly, efficiently, and without surprises.