I am a debt attorney. I’m also an entrepreneur, and a co-founder of a well-known startup. I’ve spent the last 10 years helping people deal with debt. In my experience, the common complaint about debt is that it’s too complicated, and creating a plan for getting out of it is confusing. And in many cases, it is—and that makes it harder to get out of debt.
I came up with the idea of unbundling debt management into several different services that are easily accessible to everyday people. If you use any one of these services and manage your own debts, you can cut down on the time and effort required to navigate your finances again after getting into trouble or needing help.
If you’ve got questions about how we do things at Unbundled Debt Services, feel free to reach out to us for more information at [email protected] .
The cost of hiring a debt attorney:
A debt attorney is a professional who deals with debt. The one you hire may be from a particular firm or from a network of lawyers who work together on many cases. If you hire a lawyer to handle the negotiation process, he will usually charge you an hourly fee. The amount of the fee depends on the complexity of your case and whether your lawyer will also handle discovery (file) and other tasks. In some cases, the attorney charges by the hour, in other cases by the project (that is, one big project at a time). The hourly charge usually includes a retainer, which is money that you pay up front to get started with your case.
The next task is figuring out what kind of services you need and how much they cost. This involves researching specific topics like:
How did you get into debt?
What do you need to do to get out of it?
How long does it take?
How much does it cost?
How much does it take to cure what’s wrong with this person/company/bankruptcy court?
How long will it take to cure what’s wrong in this particular person/company/bankruptcy court?
You should find an article or two on these topics in your research, as well as some sources for general information about getting into debt (i.e., credit card companies). You should also make sure to read some articles on how to negotiate your terms (“negotiating” means coming up with compromise terms based on both sides’ needs). An introductory article might be helpful here: http://www.debtlawyeronline.com/articles_for_beginners/how_much_does_a_debt_attorney_cost/. Once you’ve done all that research, try to figure out how much each type of attorney will charge for their services (“typical” fees are listed below.) Then compare these costs per hour (“hourly rates”) between competing firms; ultimately determine which firm is most competitive for your situation (i.e., which firm offers the lowest total rate per hour). If possible, compare this total rate per hour against the hourly charges charged by other firms that are similar in terms of experience and resources available (i.e., firms with similar expertise; i.e., firms offering experienced attorneys at comparable rates!) You can then compare these total hours per year (“annual rates”) against the annual revenue generated by each firm (usually expressed as
The benefits of hiring a debt attorney:
I’ve been asked about the value of hiring a debt attorney for several years now. The short answer is that it makes no difference at all. So long as you do your due diligence, and follow what is laid out in the terms of service, you aren’t going to pay more than you need to.
First and foremost: be clear on what needs to be done. One of the most common mistakes new businesses make is thinking they don’t have to do anything but pay their debts, but that’s not true at all! You need to have a plan for how you will handle debt negotiation with creditors (and potential creditors). You also need to carefully figure out what your objectives are in doing this, such as whether you are trying to negotiate for a lower interest rate or for forgiveness of principal. Debt negotiations are very different from negotiating typical commercial agreements with creditors (such as credit card terms). They can be quite complex and require specialized knowledge and skills from lawyers.
So if you are still not sure what needs to happen in order to get the best results, there’s no reason not hire an attorney — just make sure he or she understands what needs to happen before starting any negotiations.
Finally, if you have questions about how much legal fees will cost, here’s a useful infographic that provides some helpful information right on the page!
The drawbacks of hiring a debt attorney:
If you have an existing, good relationship with a debt settlement company and are ready to switch to a new one, it is worth paying attention to this. While some companies may try to persuade you that they’re the best option for you, the reality is that there are different types of debt settlement companies, which means different charges and different service levels.
To be clear: I am not advocating any particular company or service. All I’m trying to do is provide a quick overview of how much debt settlement services cost in terms of money and time (for me, as an example).
So here we go:
1) The first question is: what does “debt settlement company” mean?
“Debt Settlement Company” is a legal term for an organization that specializes in settling debts for people with minor or even no credit. When you hire one, they will tell you that they can help you get rid of your debts and avoid foreclosure by negotiation or other means. They may also specialize in resolving non-dischargeable debt such as medical bills or car loans. They will typically handle all aspects of the transaction from negotiations with creditors to collection notices for defaulted loans, as well as providing advice about repayment options, such as forbearance plans, payback plans and income contingent repayment plans.
There are two ways to look at their charges: fees per hour and fees per use case. Fees per hour usually refer to hourly rates charged by individual contractors (these contractors are usually referred to as debt settlement companies). Most small businesses pay hourly rates because they don’t want to pay more than $50/hour when they have only two employees who can work 30 hours per week each; but many large businesses do pay hourly rates because they want more flexibility in how they manage their payroll (e.g., let them pick certain hours when workers come into work); the higher rate often covers overhead costs like office space rental costs and depreciation on equipment used in collection cases (“retention fees”).
The other kind of fee is dependent on the size of the business; if it’s small enough that one person can take care of all your debt issues then it may only charge $10/hour; if it’s large enough so that a whole team can handle everything then it may charge $50/hour or more per hour (higher for larger firms). The larger firms tend not just to charge hourly rates but also fixed prices depending on where the work begins (“complaint resolution”) and
How to choose the right debt attorney for you:
If you don’t want to hire an attorney to handle the entire negotiation process, you can ask the lawyer to provide an unbundled service. An unbundled service is a specific task that the attorney will complete for a fee. The fee will vary depending on the complexity of the task and the lawyer’s enthusiasm for it. In most cases, a lawyer should charge $250 per hour for this type of service.
The job of an attorney is typically to represent a client before a potential creditor. Depending on which state you live in, lawyers also represent creditors (the investor). Regardless of your situation, there are many different types of attorneys with varying levels of expertise and skills. You need to determine what type of person will be best for you and your situation. To help guide in that decision, here are some tips:
1) Don’t just look at price: How much does the attorney charge doesn’t always tell you how professional they are; their ability may be more important than their price tag. If they’ll work well with your advisors, they may not be worth that much more than another attorney who may have less experience but is willing to work with them more efficiently (and thus bill less).
2) Know what legal issues you need help with: How do you want your debt resolved? Do you have any special needs? What issues do these attorneys deal with routinely? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Does someone else’s debt matter as much as yours? If so, does that person have any specific expertise on any aspect of it?
3) Look at previous work: It’s important to understand how well-known their reputation is within your market so that if something goes wrong or if their reputation diminishes over time (as it inevitably does), that won’t affect your decision either way.
4) Find someone who will treat you fairly: A good lawyer will treat every client fairly, even if every other person in court thinks differently about what’s best for them than they do (which could include law enforcement agencies and other creditors). Be sure they don’t keep secrets from each other; if one side has something confidential or private while negotiating with another party, they shouldn’t continue negotiating until the information comes out (which would cause harm to both sides). Also make sure all parties involved understand fully what each other are agreeing to because if there’s anything left out that could cause problems later down the line (for example, if one side doesn’t understand how
You might think it makes no sense to discuss how much a debt attorney costs if you are not actually dealing with a lawyer. This is true enough, but people often forget that lawyers charge by the hour and they also charge by the case. So, if we want a good lawyer, we need to know how much they cost.
There are two ways of doing this:
1) By the hour
2) By the case
The first way is probably the best way since you can get a great deal on one lawyer and pay less for multiple attorneys working in different cases. But what if your lawyer is available for all types of cases? That’s another story.