Turner & O'Connell, Attorneys at Law
Serving Pennsylvania since 1984
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Why your bankruptcy attorney matters

You can tread water for a long time, but eventually it catches up to you. When you realize your debt has gotten too deep, it's difficult to swim out. Spending money is what caused the problem -- whether it was expensive personal items or a forced cost like extensive medical bills -- so it's hard to think about hiring help to resolve the problem.

But would you rather be tossed a patched-together life preserver, or board a ship and sail away?

Learning from experience

When you're looking into bankruptcy solutions to your debt, hiring the right attorney is essential. As Omar Spahi, founder of Ocean Avenue Realty Inc., explains, the wrong choice will cost you far more in the end. Spahi declared bankruptcy at age 21. While it cost him in the short term, he shares in an article for Entrepreneur that its lessons have helped him build a new foundation.

Spahi filed a business bankruptcy (Chapter 11), but Chapters 7 and 13 are the most common types that most consumers choose. Both provide methods to reduce debt as you keep looking toward the future.

Making the right choice

Much as Spahi uses his experience to help others, the experience of your attorney matters. A law firm is rarely a one-stop shop with all the answers. Different attorneys work in different areas of law and in different city, county, state and federal courts.

You should always interview an attorney to make sure he or she can help you, and has experience with similar cases. Key questions include:

  1. Have you done this before?
  2. In addition to the bankruptcy filing, how will you help me come out ahead?

Long-term and short-term decisions

In financial matters, the long-term picture is equally as important as the short-term decisions. A cheaper service may deliver immediate results that end up costing you more in the end, either through a convoluted bankruptcy trial or by reaching settlements that don't benefit you.

If you're sinking in debt and need help, bankruptcy can be a powerful tool to get your life back on track. But, like any financial decision, how you proceed will have long term effects. Make sure that you do your homework and find an attorney who will be there to set things right today so you're able to stay afloat and prosper.

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