Facing bankruptcy is one of life’s most distressing experiences for most people and it occurred in over 400,000 cases with Americans in 2021, which was down by 24 percent from 2020 according to reports, but 2023 looks to see another rise as the economic situation remains tight.
The bankruptcy statistics remain sobering, however.
According to data provided by Epiq Bankruptcy, a major provider of U.S. bankruptcy filing data, commercial bankruptcy filings declined in 2022 by five percent, from 22,561 in 2021 to 21,396 last year.
Commercial chapter 11 filings, however, increased two percent to 3,816 in 2022 from the previous year’s total of 3,726. Small business debtor chapter 11 cases under subchapter V also increased in calendar year 2022 with over 1400 filings, representing a 13 percent increase from 2021.
Data available on legal-research platform Westlaw show that 4,271 chapter 11 cases (business and non-business) were filed in 2022, compared to 4,143 in 2021, and 7,330 in 2020. According to data available from financial research company The Deal Pipeline, 112 companies with liabilities exceeding $50 million filed for chapter 7, 11 or 15 bankruptcy in 2022, compared to 114 in 2021. Chapter 11 filings by companies with at least $1 million in debt numbered 338 in 2022, compared to 378 in 2021.
All of this means that whether you are a corporate or a small business owner or individual facing bankruptcy the choice of an experienced attorney is important.
Bankruptcy law requirements can also differ in different states. For example, exemptions, which are the property and assets that a person is allowed to keep during the bankruptcy process, can differ and require a knowledge of the law in the particular jurisdiction.
Among the key criteria for choosing a good bankruptcy attorney are the following –
Different attorneys specialize in different kinds of law, so individuals are encouraged to find the attorney’s specialization.
Finding a lawyer who deals with bankruptcy cases is obviously important as specialist knowledge of bankruptcy and insolvency law is essential. You also want to find an attorney who understands your situation, and this will make things easier during the process.
People can search various bankruptcy attorney websites in different states, an example being bankruptcy attorneys in dallas, to find what they are looking for. Using directories and online sources is an obvious starting point.
A bankruptcy lawyer with a good track record and experience in handling similar cases will be able to provide you with the best guidance and support throughout the bankruptcy process.
This is crucial as bankruptcy laws can be complex and having a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer can help ensure that you navigate the process successfully and protect your assets to the fullest extent possible. You also need to choose a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable communicating and who you trust to represent your best interests.
License and certification
A genuine bankruptcy attorney must be licensed, and you must ensure that the licensing body accredits the lawyer. Checking out online reviews is an obvious way to check out an attorney, but it should not necessarily be the final factor in making the decision as to who to use.
Individuals are advised to go through previous clients’ reviews and choose the best lawyer based on the one with the most positive feedback. You can also ask for details of previous cases.
Reputation and Accessability
Ensure that the lawyer has a good reputation, particularly in the bankruptcy area and also available to take the case. There are various Bar Association and law directory sites that can be used to locate appropriately qualified lawyers, as well as word-of-mouth check.
Check with the law firm as to their fee structure and make sure you understand how they will charge for their services.