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This article is about why you may not want to forgo bankruptcy in favor of just paying the minimums on your debts. Very good article. I completely agree with it.
I have had clients who I could have helped, if they had only come to me sooner. It never hurts to go ahead and talk to a bankruptcy lawyer now. You can always say "no."
Very few bankruptcy lawyers will pressure you to file bankruptcy. If they do, walk away immediately and let your next attorney know what happened. It is unethical to pressure a client to make any decision. A lawyer's job is to present the options and consequences to you--not convince you to take a certain course, especially if that course will benefit him/her directly.
Further, there are good credit and debt counseling services out there. They will often have a good idea of whether you should visit a bankruptcy attorney. It is always better to go sooner rather than later. But you have to be sure that you go to a reputable non-profit counseling service. Many of these services work directly for creditors and will not necessarily act in your interests.
I offer free consultations, so please feel free to call me. However, there are many reputable bankruptcy lawyers in Ohio. I recommend choosing a lawyer who works with you directly, not through staff. Also, I personally believe smaller firms are preferable, because your case will not be kicked around between lawyers. In fact, there are some great solo firms in town (including mine).
If your case is simple, I don't think you need to pay for a super-experienced lawyer. They will charge a premium for their experience. If your case involves complicated issues though, experience is key. Learning how to deal with the complicated issues can only come through experience. Of course, as a client, it is hard to tell whether your case is complicated or not. If you're not sure, talk to several lawyers and eventually, you'll probably start to get an idea of whether you need to pay a premium for a more experienced lawyer.