How To Find A Lawyer

If you decide you are going to fight a garnishment in court , you need to find the right lawyer.

This doesn’t just mean the one who is going to win. It means you need to find an attorney who has the exact talent needed for the situation and the people skills to help you through the process.

Just Googling for attorneys or picking one at random from the phone book isn’t going to help. You’re going to need to do some work to truly find the lawyer best qualified to help you out of the mess you are in.

Recommendation Services

There are plenty of referral services available both online and locally. It’s especially important to use a referral service if you’re trying to find a specialist.  Attorneys are just like doctors. There are cases when a general practitioner is fine and then there are times when you need an expert with detailed knowledge in a specific area.

Ask Around

Word of mouth is the best advertising in any profession and law is no different. Your family members, friends, coworkers or clients have certainly had to make use of legal counsel sometime. Ask around and you’ll come up with many referrals and even names of some attorneys to avoid.

Don’t just ask for names. Get detailed information about the attorney’s personality, style and methods to really get a feel for whether they would be a good fit for you.

Turn off the TV

This may be a generalization, but it bears telling. If an attorney advertises on your local stations during daytime TV, move on. These lawyers often rely on sales pitches like “no fee unless we win” or “you are guaranteed to win your case” and there’s no way they can back up these claims. A good attorney will not claim they can work for cheap or assure victory before knowing the details of a case.

Make Some Calls

Once you’ve gotten some names from referral services, business associates, family and friends, it’s time to narrow down the list. A phone call is free and some lawyers may offer a free initial consultation as well. The best approach is to speak with the actual attorney on the phone or in person, describe your specific legal problem and gauge their reaction.

Some areas to focus on:

  • Personality: Are you comfortable with the lawyer as a person?
  • Knowledge: Do they seem to grasp the issue and have a real plan?
  • Experience: Have they worked on cases like this before?
  • Fees: Does their fee structure work for your budget?

These four criteria are essential to finding the right lawyer for you; one who not only has the best chance of winning your case, but one who will work best to suit your needs.

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17 Responses to How To Find A Lawyer

  1. Tommy N. says:

    I need to talk to an attorney who specializes in stopping wage garnishment due to old debts from credit card companies. Any assistance or referrals would be highly appreciated.

  2. Jenny says:

    You can start with a Google search for “wage garnishment attorney”. To get more local results you can add your state or city. This will give you an initial list of lawyers to consider.

  3. Saul says:

    I want some information in regards to garnishment. I co-signed on a car loan when I was 18 not knowing really what a co-singer was. I believe I was taken advantage of from my mom and the dealership. The car was repo! I was now responsible for the debt. I am now 29 years old, and dealing with the threat of getting my check garnished. I have been garnished 2 times, and quit both jobs. I don’t want to expirence this again. I am the only provider for my family. I would like to know what I can do to protect myself and my family.

  4. Jenny says:

    When you co-sign on a loan, you will be held responsible if the borrower doesn’t pay.

    You say you have been garnished before. The creditors will be coming after their money because it is legally theirs. Quitting a job may buy you some time but it does not solve the problem. You probably need a lawyer for help with your case.

  5. Peter M says:

    I was garnished then after paying the garnishment, was phoned later by garnisher telling me that there is certain amount in arears. What should I do then?

  6. Jenny says:

    The garnishment was ordered by court. If you paid in full then the creditor should not call anymore.

    If they think you still owe them money then they should show you proof and get a new court order if you cannot agree on a written(!) payment agreement.

  7. Joanna M. says:

    Can multiple collection agencies collect on your check? Or do they have to wait in line, until the other garnishment is paid?

  8. Jenny says:

    This may vary by state but for most debts, the total amount that can be garnished cannot exceed 25%. If you are sued by more than one creditor, they must usually wait in line to garnish. It is quite rare that they share the 25%.

    There is a another problem though. Having more than one garnishment sent to your employer could lead to a loss of your job.

  9. Don Petersen says:

    To find an experienced consumer rights lawyer, visit the National Association of Consumer Advocates and use the “Find An Attorney” feature. NACA members do not represent any banks, debt collectors, or other companies who are opposed to consumers’ interest. The earlier in the collection process that you consult with a lawyer, the more likely you are to make it through the collection process without a judgment or even a lawsuit against you. Good Luck!

  10. Jazzy says:

    I was paying on a judgement for a credit card frm when I was in high school I had been paying on it since 2007, so now I am receiving advertisements frm different law firms saying I’m about to be garanished. How can I stop this if I thought I was through paying

  11. Jenny says:

    I hope you still have that judgement to pay off your credit card debt. You should be able to find out how much you owed and for how long you had to pay it off.

    You could also contact the law firms and ask for clarification. A garnishment must be decided by court so you should be invited to defend your case. Maybe some debt collector is trying to intimidate you.

  12. bonita says:

    I had a car loan in 2003 it was for $3500.00. I had defaulted due to loss of job. The vehicle was also stolen, which made me lose my job. I remembered the loan officer stating that if this was to occur the insurance I signed through them would pay for it. The individual that stolen the vehicle was arrested and prosecuted through court, but when I explained to the company what had happened. They did not use the insurance to pay for the debt. So now that $3500.00 loan is a 11,000 garnishment. Are they allowed to charge me that amount? Is bankruptcy where I would lose my home, and other secured loans my only result? Please help me I am not very educated. I only bring home now 166.00 a week have two kids, my husband is disabled. We are barely making it. Don’t know what else I can do.

  13. mikateko camron. shuma says:

    I need to talk to the attorney who specialse on garnshment stoping,any assisted pls ,thanks ,

  14. Jenny says:

    Hi there. The best advice I can offer is to ask your friends if they have used a lawyer to assist with garnishment. Avoid lawyers that you see on television or on giant billboards offering to take your case and have you pay no fee. If your affairs have gotten to this serious stage you need to treat it seriously and get yourself a quality lawyer who can explain your case to you in detail. There are some services that don’t charge a fee for you to present your case and have several lawyers offer their services. These may be useful for you if you don’t have friends or family that can refer you to a quality professional.

  15. Jenny says:

    Hi Bonita. I think you urgently need some good legal advice. This might be difficult for you on such a low income. Your debt could definitely have grown to such a large amount as it has been outstanding for over 10 years. Unfortunately I’m not convinced that you can do anything about the insurance claim at this point unless you have paperwork stating exactly what your insurance should have covered. If so you may have legal recourse to seek restitution but this would depend on the rules in the state where you live and could cost you a fair bit of money. Please urgently speak to the lender that administers your home loan if you have one. Many lenders give free financial advice to their borrowers facing financial difficulty.

  16. lucille says:

    i was garnish on a car 04 and never was told howmuch they sold the car for and what i need to pay after they sold it when they sent out paper i was living at point B where i bought the car and instead they sent my paper to point A which was yearbefore i move to point B how can they do that and my correct address was point B i had been on my jor 5 years and brought a truck that when the garnish came my job never told me i never got court papers and when i realize my check was short my told me about the garnishment 2013 my job said it was paid off 2014 i got some papers in the mail and i saw a court date so i took of to go only to see the take my moeny again and now they are saying it not over i still have to give them thousands of dollars this is wrong i been on my job 11 year i cant keep a house how do i pay my taxes or my doctor bills i am about to quit my job they can’t take a welfar check Help Help

  17. Jenny says:

    It sounds as though the car you purchased in ’04 was either voluntary returned to the lender, or was repossessed. In either case, at that point it is likely that the lender sold the car at auction to recover some of the costs. This would have left you responsible for any remaining balance, but as you have stated the documentation outlining your remaining obligation was then sent to the wrong address. If you have any documentation verifying they knew the correct contact address, you may be able to have the debt removed because the creditor followed improper processes. However, this only applies if you didn’t sign any sort of document when the car was returned or repossessed waiving those rights.

    You’ve also stated that your wages were garnished in 2013, and then told by your employer that the debt was paid off. If you have any sort of documentation showing the debt has been paid, you may be able to get the garnishment stopped. When you received a court date in 2014, did you appear in court? If so, you should have documentation of the judgment stating what you still owe. If not, it is important that you contact the court and obtain that documentation. Wages cannot be garnished without a court judgement against you, and a copy of the judgement will provide you with more detailed information on why your wages are still being garnished after you were previously told you had paid the balance in full.

    If the judgement from the court verifies that you still owe the debt, then there are a few other options to stop the garnishment. If you make a payment arrangement with the creditor (and then honor the arrangement), you may be able to negotiate a lower amount. It is also a good idea to check your state’s exemption options. In certain areas you can have the garnishment amount lowered if you provide more than 50% of the support for a dependent, or other special circumstances apply.

    If these options don’t help, your next step would be to talk to a consumer credit lawyer. Many will offer free consultations, and they can help you review other options for getting the garnishment lowered or removed, whether it’s by fighting the debt or looking into declaring bankruptcy.

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