Once you’ve interviewed a few debt settlement attorneys, dedicate some quiet time to sit down and review what you liked and disliked about each, based on your consultation.
The total U.S. consumer debt reached nearly $15 trillion in 2021. That includes auto loans, credit cards, mortgages, and student loans.
With such a high amount of debt, there’s no doubt that many Americans will need to seek debt settlement at some point in their lifetimes. The best course of repairing a frightening financial situation is to work with a debt settlement attorney, a type of lawyer well-versed in helping consumers lower the amount of money they owe, and in some unique cases, cancelling it altogether.
If you’re considering getting help with your debt problem, here’s what you should do to find the perfect debt settlement attorney for your situation.
Find an Attorney with Debt Settlement Experience
Just as attorneys specialize in family law, torts, or criminal law, many also specialize in debt settlement. You can find attorneys with this specialization through your state’s Bar Association website. Remember that the attorneys you choose to interview should be licensed in your state. For example, if you live in Colorado, you should only speak with attorneys licensed to practice in Colorado.
You should interview multiple attorneys to get a feel for how successful they’ve been in their past cases related to debt settlement. Have they been able to satisfactorily lower debt for people like you? Are the debt amounts they’ve settled and the types of debt they’ve worked with similar to your own?
Listen carefully as they explain the steps they’d take to help you get out of debt. Take careful notes so you can compare your options when you’re closer to making a decision.
Compare Your Debt Situation with Their Experience
Now that you’ve found a few debt relief attorney options, and you’ve spoken to them, compare your financial situation to those they’ve helped others get out of. Do they specialize predominantly in bankruptcy? Or is their practice more focused on debt settlement? If you’re not looking to file for bankruptcy, you want to choose the attorney with the debt settlement experience, even if the bankruptcy attorney seemed great, too.
An attorney with experience navigating situations like yours will be better able to assist you than someone who does not specialize in debt settlement.
Ask About Their Fees
All lawyers charge fees for working on your case. Fee structure, however, isn’t always the same. Because you’re seeking legal help due to debt, you should focus on finding an attorney who charges reasonable fees and gives you flexibility in paying for them.
You should never have to pay for an initial consultation, so during yours, be sure to ask how much the attorney will charge.
Don’t confuse “cheap” with “good value,” however. An attorney that seems like they might not do the best job negotiating your debts but is inexpensive to pay may not be right for you, either. Tread carefully, and read testimonials from past clients on unbiased review websites, not the attorney’s website.
Gauge Your Comfort Level
If you were hiring someone to remodel your home, you wouldn’t choose a contractor who made you feel upset or frustrated. Similarly, you shouldn’t hire an attorney who doesn’t make you comfortable with their process and goals.
You’ll be sharing a lot of personal information with your debt relief attorney, so you want to feel comfortable talking to them. They’ll have lots of questions for you, and you’ll be in frequent contact, so if you don’t particularly like them or feel confident in their abilities, you’re going to dread every step of the debt settlement process.
And while the process isn’t fun, per se, it should be fairly pleasant, as the end goal is helping you out of a difficult and extremely stressful situation.
Ensure Timelines are Compatible
When you’re seeking debt relief, you want to get started right away. Finding a debt settlement attorney who thinks you could be successful and who can begin when you’re ready are two very important steps!
You don’t necessarily want to hire an attorney who is more or less squeezing you into an already overloaded schedule. You want an attorney who has the time to carefully work on your case and who can begin when you call and provide them with information.
Debt doesn’t wait, so don’t choose an attorney who keeps you waiting.
List the Pros and Cons of Your Options
Once you’ve interviewed a few debt settlement attorneys, dedicate some quiet time to sit down and review what you liked and disliked about each, based on your consultation with them and any phone conversations with their paralegals or staff.
You will probably discover a clear winner, who will be the attorney you want to hire. Once you let the attorney’s office know you want to work with them, you’re ready for the next step of getting out of debt.