Do an Internet search for debt relief attorney in San Diego and you are likely to pull up a number of bankruptcy attorneys. Depending on your circumstances, bankruptcy may or may not be the best solution for you. If it turns out bankruptcy isn’t your best option, should you stick with a bankruptcy attorney to handle your debt settlement?

I recently had a potential client contact me. She had become dissatisfied with her bankruptcy attorney who she had turned to for debt relief. Originally, she went to this attorney to file for bankruptcy. All went well until her circumstances changed and bankruptcy was no longer an option. The attorney explained that it might be possible to negotiate down the balances on her credit card debt through a debt settlement. She decided to stick with this attorney to see if she could still get some form of debt relief through him. A year later, she learned that no work had been done on her file. She couldn’t even confirm that he sent out letters of representation to her creditors. Frustrated by this she fired him and is in the process of retaining my firm to step in to negotiate.

So what went wrong with the other attorney? This is by no means a blanket statement for all bankruptcy attorneys. But, most of them are not equipped to handle debt settlement files. This isn’t to say they are incapable of negotiating. However, if an attorney is handling bankruptcy matters, they may not have time to spend on debt settlements. Bankruptcy is often a high volume practice. Bankruptcy attorneys are likely in Court on a regular basis handling different matters. This prevents them from being in the office to make calls to creditors on a settlement.

Debt settlement attorneys are often quite the opposite and spend most of their days calling creditors and negotiating settlements for their clients. In my San Diego credit card debt settlement law practice it is very common to work with a client for up to three years to negotiate all of their debts. With proper systems in place, this is a manageable process. However, if debt settlement is something an attorney just dabbles in, it may not be so easy to keep up with a client over that length of time. Most bankruptcy attorneys simply aren’t set up to handle this type of client.

If you are considering your debt relief options, it is important to ask the attorney about all of your options. And then ask about their experience in handling matters under each of those options. If you’re not confident that your bankruptcy attorney can handle a debt settlement, ask for a referral. If they won’t give you a referral, there are online resources to help you find attorneys. Using review sites such as AVVO, Yelp or FindLaw may also be a good source. Many individuals turn to search engines to narrow down the search based on the type of attorney they think they need.

The manner in which you handle your debts is an important decision that will affect you for the next several years. You need to be confident in the debt relief attorney you choose.

Daniel R. Gamez, an attorney focusing exclusively in debt settlement, is licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in California and Texas. Mr. Gamez owns and operates the Gamez Law Firm in La Jolla, CA. For more information, please contact Daniel Gamez at 858-217-5051, or visit