Bankruptcy lawyers specialize in the many legal aspects of filing bankruptcy. Any entity, from an individual on up to a large municipality, can file for bankruptcy. The legal duties of a bankruptcy lawyer involve filing petitions, writing reports, going over the client's assets, and attending court hearings. Most of the time, when a client files bankruptcy, they are also facing other legal issues, such as a lien or foreclosure, wage garnishment, and creditor lawsuits. As a result, many bankruptcy lawyers will represent their clients for these other issues.
Bankruptcy lawyers work with trustees in order to ensure that assets are liquidated correctly and creditors are paid. The lawyer may also work with courts to create a reorganization and creditor repayment plan. A good lawyer can help their client avoid foreclosure and repossession, as well as wage garnishment. These lawyers are some of the most accurate sources of bankruptcy information, and they focus on Chapter 7,9, 11, 12 and 13 bankruptcy proceedings.
For instance, if the bankruptcy lawyer's client is an individual, they may be able to file Chapter 7 or 13. The attorney will be able to tell their client the difference between the two bankruptcy types, and how each will influence the rest of their life. Under Chapter 7, some assets can be sold off to pay debt, but there's no repayment plan. Under Chapter 13, the debtor gets to keep their property, but they must agree to a payment plan.
Bankruptcy lawyers may also represent businesses. If a business is in dire financial straits, their attorney may advise them to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, where the business gets to maintain operations, but must submit to a court-approved repayment plan. In other instances, the lawyer may represent a town, city, county or school district. In most of these cases, the municipality is eligible to file Chapter 9. In limited family farming cases, lawyers can specialize in Chapter 12 proceedings.
In the US, bankruptcy is governed by the nationwide Federal Bankruptcy Code. The UK has the Insolvency Law, Canada has the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, and Australia has the Bankruptcy Act. Every set of laws restricts who can file personal bankruptcy, what they have to do to pay their debts, and the tax ramifications of bankruptcy. No matter what code a client is under, bankruptcy means being declared legally insolvent. The bankruptcy lawyer's main job is to represent the client's interest in court, and to help them get the most favorable settlement terms. The lawyer serves as the client's advocate, manages filing details, and deals with the outcome of court hearings.
Perhaps one of the most important jobs a bankruptcy lawyer has is helping their clients figure out how to structure their filing. Most countries' laws offer several bankruptcy options. Filers can elect to sell off assets to pay debts, or can get them consolidated, reorganized, or discharged completely. A great place to start the search for a reliable bankruptcy lawyer is on the chosen state's Bar Association website. As bankruptcy laws are different in every state, it's essential that clients find a lawyer that is licensed to practice in the state in which they reside.