So you are a New Jersey resident considering bankruptcy. You have a lot of questions and want to talk to a lawyer. That is all good. However, no matter how much you may be concerned with the cost of filing, asking for a fee quote when you call is never a good idea. Here's why.
The Price Quoted May Well Be Too High
There is no way that an attorney can guage how much work will be involved in your case from a quick initial phone call. If you do get one, however, then there is a good possibility that you are being overcharged.
This is because any good attorney is going to estimate high, and if you don’t have a complicated case, you are going to end up paying too much.
You Might Not Get a Good Attorney or Reliable Quote
Another possibility is that the attorney is not good, is desperate for business, and will give you a low fee quote to get you as a client. He might also rely on volume to sustain that low fee, thus limiting the personal attention he will give to your case.
Just remember that, as in everything in life, you get what you pay for. In addition, he or she might quote you a low fee because your case "sounds like it is simple." Then later, when you come in to his office (or after he retains you), you find out about all the "extras" he charges. "Oh, I didn't know you had THAT issue with your case!"
You Will Be Sending the Wrong Message
By choosing a lawyer based on cost, you are communicating to that lawyer and her staff that you really don’t care about the quality of the representation you are getting. You view attorneys as commodities, so just go for the cheapest one.
I am never offended by the question (I get it a lot), but it is a bit disconcerting when it is the first question asked by the caller. The clear impression I get from this is that the person is going through a search engine page or phone book polling attorneys for the lowest price.
You should pick the attorney with whom you are most comfortable and whom you see as most knowledgeable. Choose them from referrals or from reading the content of their web sites.
What You Should Do
You should definitely ask for a fee quote from a bankruptcy attorney; I happily give them. However, it should be far down on your list after "Is bankruptcy right for me?" and "What are the consequences of filing?" (along with lots of other questions about bankruptcy that you should be asking).
If you live in southern New Jersey and are considering filing bankruptcy, please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site for a free consultation in my Woodbury office to discuss your case.
If you have more questions about bankruptcy, then download my free book,Top Questions People Ask About Filing Bankruptcy in New Jersey.