Bankruptcy / Experience / How I Knew I Had A Great Bankruptcy Attorney

How I Knew I Had A Great Bankruptcy Attorney: 5 Things to Know

Written by Ascend Team
Updated Dec 29th, 2023
This article is for informational purposes only. Ascend does not provide legal advice, and are not attorneys. If you'd like to speak with a bankruptcy attorney that serves your city, you can speak with one in a free consultation.

My spouse and I filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in July of 2022. This was a decision that we had been pondering for upwards of 3 years. Various life events such as the Covid-19 Pandemic and shut down, moving, job loss and medical expenses were all factors that played into us having to make this decision. 

As with most things in my life, I research everything before making a decision. We had done other programs in the past such as Debt Management but our situation was much more complicated now. We briefly discussed and entertained the idea of Debt Settlement but ultimately ended up filing for bankruptcy

Researching Bankruptcy Attorneys

We met with a total of 4 bankruptcy attorneys before we landed on the attorney that we chose to file our case with. I actually came to work with Ascend by taking the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Calculator in November of 2021. I was living in a different state at the time and I was matched with an attorney there. I really liked the attorney that I met with. We had a great initial consultation and then he told me the price. It was going to take me a few months to come up with the money for the retainer. By the time I was ready to pay the retainer we were in the process of moving to another state and could not use that attorney. Ascend did not have coverage yet in the state that we moved to so I had to find my own. 

What I Looked For In An Attorney

We both wanted someone who was both empathetic and understanding. We both experienced a large amount of shame in getting to this point, even though a few of the factors were out of our control.

When we started looking for attorneys we googled “Bankruptcy attorneys in (the city/state we lived in).” I picked the first from the list who had a good rating on Google. We set up an initial consultation in the office and went for it. Hindsight, I wish I had done more research at that point because finding a bankruptcy lawyer is not a one size fits all type of scenario. 

Initial First Consultation

When we arrived for our consultation I came fully prepared with the last two years of tax returns, 6 months of bank statements and a printed off excel sheet with each creditor we owed, the dollar amount we owed them and the account number. This may have been overzealous for the first conversation, but it helped me feel more secure in our decision. 
I took notes on our conversation, and I made a list of questions to ask the attorney and I took detailed notes on the conversation. Some of those questions were: 
  1. What are your fees? 
  2. Do I qualify for Chapter 7? 
  3. How soon after Chapter 7 can I buy a house/car? 
  4. Can I keep my car(s)? 
  5. What does the process look like? 
The attorney asked a few questions after looking at my bank statements, the most pressing question was in regards to some Zelle transactions that I had been doing every month. They were back and forth between my mother and I. They were for various things like a phone bill, or paying one of us back for lunch or a Target run. I did not consider this a loan because it was back and forth between my mom and I. However the attorney stated that it could be considered a short term loan between my mom and I and the trustee may go after it if it totaled to be over $600.00. 

Ultimately, that attorney was not able to file our case right then and there because we had not lived in the new state long enough to file. We had to be there “the greater part of 6 months” which equated to 91 days, and then we could file. We were only 30 days in and had 61 more to go. After leaving his office, my spouse and I were both talking and neither of us liked the attorney. He was very dry and I felt like he was severely lacking in the empathy department. We still had 61 days before we could even file, so that gave us some time to find another attorney. 

We went back to Google and did more research, we found the second attorney on the list and called them. We set up a consultation but when the time came for the phone call they never called us. We reached out one more time, and heard nothing back. We ended up getting a Facebook ad for a bankruptcy attorney and we decided to call her office. When we spoke to the office the people who we spoke with were warm and welcoming, we booked a consultation for the next day with the attorney. 

Second Consultation

This conversation with the last attorney that we found was like a breath of fresh air. She was delightful to speak with. She was extremely understanding and made me feel very reassured of all of our questions and anxieties. She was not worried about any of the things that I told her, and told us that we could call her office anytime we had questions or concerns and she would take care of it. 

Coincidentally, she also ended up being the cheapest out of all the attorneys that we had met with. There was also a payment plan offered, but it ended up costing us more money to do a payment plan instead of just paying the full amount up front. We discussed what information was needed to get moving, we still had 15 days until our 91 day timeline was up to be able to file in our new state. 

Moving Forward

The process of moving forward after we decided to retain her was smooth sailing. We had no hiccups. The attorney and her team handled everything from pulling our credit report, to sending us weekly updates on the status of the case and they alleviated a tremendous amount of anxiety off both my spouse and I. Her team was on top of everything, the day of our 341 meeting they called before it was set to start and gave us a brief rundown of what to expect and let us know how it would progress. Once our bankruptcy was discharged they emailed us right away and set up a call for the following afternoon. In this call we discussed:
  1. Our future financial plans (buying a house/car)
  2. What to do with any tax forms we may get in the mail during tax season (1099-C)
  3. How to rebuild our credit and how to avoid a bankruptcy again in the future
  4. What to do if we inevitably needed to file for bankruptcy again (timeline to file and what chapter it would be)
There are many attorneys out there that claim they are looking out for your best interest, while that may be true it is helpful to actually feel that way when working with an attorney. We were so thankful to have found our attorney, she made our situation so much easier. We would recommend her to anyone who needed a bankruptcy lawyer in the area, but sadly she retired at the start of this year. 


Filing for bankruptcy is not an easy decision to make, it can take many months or in some cases years to be sure that you are making the right decision. If I had to go back, I would have told myself to look at filing in 2019 when we first looked into it. Not waiting until 2022 to finally file. 

We do not regret our choice to file for bankruptcy, we did it and learned a lot in the process and it did what it was designed to do. We got our life back and now we are on track to buy our first home near the end of 2024. Maybe you are unsure where you stand? Is bankruptcy a right option? Do I qualify for bankruptcy? Are there other options available? If any of these questions ring true to you or your situation please take our Debt Relief Calculator and set up a call to go over all of your options.