Any attorney that is licensed in Florida in good standing may attempt to file a bankruptcy case for a client in South Florida. However, it is important for the consumer to know that the attorney that files bankruptcy cases in Miami, Broward or Palm Beach has court-imposed qualifications to do so.
According to the Local Rules of the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida, an attorney who appears before the bankruptcy court must certify to the court that they possess skills required to practice before the bankruptcy court. This certification must be included in all papers filed by the attorney. The minimum skills required include the taking of bankruptcy-related courses approved by the Florida Bar. In other words, the attorney practicing before the bankruptcy court, must be up-to-date on the latest laws and rules associated with the bankruptcy court in order to be able to competently represent the person seeking debt relief in bankruptcy court. In practice, this requirement means that bankruptcy attorneys must take continuing education courses specific to their practice on a yearly basis and must certify in writing that they have completed those requirements every time they get involved in a case. All attorneys who practice before the bankruptcy court are supposed to have this knowledge. Before you hire an attorney for bankruptcy, you should make sure that they are able to do so.
Moreover, when a financial problem may require a bankruptcy solution, it is a common sense practice to utilize an attorney that not only has fulfilled the minimum requirements mandated by the court, but who also has the requisite knowledge and many years of experience in bankruptcy work to represent the client. To that end, consumers who are seeking bankruptcy counsel should be hesitant to hire general practitioners who moonlight in bankruptcy court and file very few cases on a yearly basis. Laws and procedures change rapidly and only an attorney that concentrates their work in bankruptcy has current access to the latest changes and nuances of the law.
The consumer must understand that it is not only legal qualifications but specific bankruptcy-related experience and that makes an attorney effective and can best help a consumer in a bankruptcy case. If you would like competent, practical advice on bankruptcy matters related to your personal financial situation, please consult our office for a free consultation.
Local Rules of the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida