If you're experiencing severe financial difficulties, bankruptcy can provide a path to debt relief and help you get a fresh start. Whether you are just starting to consider bankruptcy or have already filed, getting a bankruptcy lawyer involved can help you maximize the benefits afforded to you by the United States Bankruptcy Code.
We've assembled a list of trusted local lawyers that you can use to find the right San Mateo bankruptcy attorney to help you stop wage garnishment, prevent creditor harassment, get debt relief, and protect your property.
Types of Bankruptcy
A bankruptcy attorney can help you determine if the process is right for you or if other debt relief options are better suited to your needs. If bankruptcy is appropriate for your situation, your lawyer will help you decide whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy (often used by individuals or small business owners), Chapter 13 bankruptcy (where debt repayment plans are established to help you get back on track), Chapter 11 (business reorganization) or some other form of California-specific bankruptcy process is best for you.
Why File For Bankruptcy?
People wind up filing for bankruptcy for many reasons, often involving outside forces or unforeseen expenses: Medical debt and unexpected health care costs can quickly spiral out of control, credit card debt can accrue due to business expenses or needing to use a credit card during periods of unemployment and low cash flow, investments in the stock market, real estate or other financial vehicles might suffer due to a financial crisis, or a supply chain shutdown can cause debt to cascade in times of pandemic (such as the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak) or due to oil price fluctuations. In any of these situations, a bankruptcy attorney can help you find the best course of action.
Many people who need to find a lawyer in California have never hired a lawyer before. Talking to a lawyer may be a new experience and you might want some help getting started. Here are some questions you may want to ask a lawyer before deciding who to hire.
What is your main practice area?
How many years of experience do you have in California with cases like mine?
How often do you take cases to trial or settle them out of court?
Can I take my case through mediation or arbitration?
Do you offer a free consultation?
What are your fees and costs?
Will you be the attorney primarily handling my case?
How will I be kept up-to-date about my case?
In order to practice law in California, attorneys have to both pass the California bar exam and be admitted by the State Bar of California. Most attorneys in California graduate from an accredited law school but some lawyers are admitted through on-the-job experience for a minimum of 4 years and through passing an additional legal exam. After a lawyer is admitted to law practice in California, they can practice in almost any area of law.
Lawyers in California are held to strict ethical guidelines known as the Rules of Professional Conduct. Attorneys may have duties and limitations in:
Duty of client advocacy
Conflicts of interest
Duty of candor
Limitations in soliciting clients
Restrictions on handling a client's money
Many people avoid calling a lawyer because they are worried it will be too expensive. In many cases, a lawyer can end up saving the client money. This includes getting an increased award, recovering additional damages, avoiding financial problems in the future, and avoiding future disputes and litigation. Some legal areas even allow the lawyer to recover legal fees from the party at fault.