Top Questions to Ask When Selecting a Debt Settlement Firm
1. How many debt settlement clients do you have?
Settling credit card and other unsecured debt is best achieved when the firm is working on behalf of many clients with many client accounts. The firm you choose should have at least 200 active clients at some stage of debt settlement. Less than 200 clients and you are choosing a firm that dabbles in settlement of debt or, worse yet, a bankruptcy firm who advertises debt settlement services, but always tries to push a potential client into bankruptcy.
2. How much credit card debt have you resolved?
You want to choose a firm that has some history of success in successfully settling credit card debt. The firm you engage should have settled at least $10,000,000 in credit card debt. If they have settled less than that amount, the plan may be to “try their hand at it” using your debts as the guinea pig. Be sure to pin them down that they have settled at least $10,000,000 in credit card debt. An experienced and full service debt settlement focused law firm will also negotiate large reductions in second mortgages, HELOC’s, tax debt and private student loan debt.
3. How many lawyers are employed full-time by your firm?
In choosing a firm to represent you, you want to choose a firm that views debt settlement as a team sport as opposed to an individual sport. For example, you want to avoid a firm in which the lawyer you meet with also does all of the settlement work by himself or with a paralegal to assist him. The field of debt settlement requires at least five full-time lawyers to achieve the kinds of results you want.
4. How many locations do you have?
Choose a firm that attempts to make it convenient for you to work with them. A law firm that focuses on representing individual consumers in debt negotiation needs to have at least two locations in a metropolitan area to serve its client base. A law firm in this field with just one location is telling you that they are focused on what makes it easy for them, not what makes it easy for the client. Avoid those types of firms.
5. Will I meet with a real live lawyer?
Never agree to engage any firm (law firm or otherwise), who recommends any debt settlement plan without going to their offices and sitting down with them face-to-face. Never, never, never. This is not a relationship you want to create over-the-phone.
Before you agree to pay any fee, you need to make sure that you have an opportunity to meet your lawyer, ask follow-up questions and make sure that they are a good “fit” for you. Clients choose better lawyers in person and clients receive better care when a personal relationship exists. Resolving your debt issues is an important and likely life changing step. It deserves a little bit of your time to engage the right kind of professional help.
Never set an appointment to meet with someone other than a living, breathing attorney.
No attorney should ever be too busy to meet with a client. A law firm that pushes a potential client off to an “intake specialist” or a paralegal should give you pause. The attorney client relationship is critical to good communication and the hallmark of a professional law firm.