Perhaps more than any other area of law, bankruptcy is truly a collaborative effort between the client and the lawyer. While the quality of the lawyer is clearly important, the quality of the client is all too often overlooked.
Yes, you hire your lawyer to advise you, prepare your petition and ultimately secure your discharge. However, if you are a diligent, proactive client, you can help ensure a successful case outcome.
Here are 5 useful tips for you, the client, to facilitate the success of your bankruptcy case:
#1: Be Prompt and Responsive
From the first time you meet with your lawyer, it is important to be prompt and responsive. Show up to your initial consultation and all future meetings on time.
As your case progresses, respond timely to all mail, e-mail and phone calls. Of course, you should demand the same from your lawyer.
Failure to do so could have negative implications on the outcome of your case.
#2: Educate Yourself
I am always surprised that many of my clients actually know very little about the bankruptcy process. There is a plethora of information available online.
Attorney blogs and court information sites are excellent resources for understanding the basics of the bankruptcy process. This basic understanding could facilitate the filing of your case.
By knowing what documents are needed and what deadlines need to be met, the whole process becomes more streamlined.
#3: Educate Your Lawyer
Lawyers think they’re smart, but they know nothing about your situation. It is your responsibility to educate your attorney on you.
Share everything and share often, even if you think it has nothing to do with your bankruptcy case. A small piece of information omitted could negatively impact the success of your case.
#4: Be Organized
This one is difficult because “organized” means different things to different people. In addition, you may have stacks of bills, collection notices and other documents piling up.
While slightly time consuming and emotionally troubling, organizing your documents can really help your attorney. By doing this, it is easier for your attorney to identify potential case issues and come up with solutions.
#5: Be Nice
This sounds both silly and corny, but nice people do not finish last. In fact, being nice usually gets you ahead, especially when dealing with your attorney, his/her staff and court employees.
Everyone wants to be treated with respect, including your attorney. Doing so will ensure that he/she will go the extra mile for you.