I don't know much about filing for bankruptcy. I had a friend once who had filed twice, once as a Chapter 7 and once as a Chapter 13. I don't really know much about them, one is more of a repayment type plan and the other cancels out all debts. I don't know if you lose everything or not.
Here are some web sites may be useful:
1 - NACBA.org "NACBA is the only national organization dedicated to serving the needs of consumer bankruptcy attorneys and protecting the rights of consumer debtors in bankruptcy."
They have lists of lawyers' names in all the states, I found 67 in my state. From what I can tell by their web site, they seem to be committed to consumer advocacy.
2 - I got a ton of info here: http://credit.about.com/ re- what is bk, scams to avoid, debt collectors, legal and illegal practices, how to find an attorney, more.
3 - https://www.ftc.gov/ The web site for the Federal Trade Commission, supposedly to protect consumers, but since it is a government agency, I am skeptical. Just my opinion.
Do not pay $2800 to a lawyer! Even tho the cost of filing has gone up since the bill passed by George Bush last year much to the delight of creditors everywhere, everything I read indicates bankruptcy filing should cost $500 up to $2000, depending on the case.
Also if you read the websites I mention, you will find tips for finding an attorney who will be on the lower end of the cost. I am eligible for legal aid because my income is practically non- existent. Even tho you make $32,000, not a lot of money, I don't know if you are eligible, but you can search under Legal Services in your state.
I'm in the position that I think I have no alternative but to commit bankruptcy, I have an appointment with a lawyer tomorrow. [Like most people, I tried to pretend the whole problem didn't exist, didn't take action until I got a legal summons. ARG] Again, everything I read - and I read a lot - says do bankruptcy ONLY if it is the last resort. You sound like a young person, and it can have long term effects, that you may not be aware of.
It's hard to study all this info, but you must in order to protect yourself. Personally I would not depend only on a lawyer, I would try to arm myself with info.
Also - and the about.com site deals with this - ***there are a lot of people trying to take advantage of people in our situation** so beware.
Feel free to mail me off-list or on, we can compare notes.
If you try for legal aid be on your guard. My ex used this group in our state when he filed for divorce. Because of that they won't do anything for me because it might be a conflict of interest. To get a lawyer I have to put up a deposit. My monthly income is between $550 and 600 so I can't afford to hire a lawyer. But the ex, who makes at least $10k more can use legal aid all he likes.
Thanks for that info. I don't know what it means, but I looked up my state and three of the very best attorneys around here aren't members. Possibly the members are those who are new to the field and are looking for more business. Those who are at the top of well established firms don't need to belong to such groups.