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What Do Debt Relief Lawyers Do?

Lainie Petersen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Debt relief lawyers typically specialize in assisting their clients with managing, reducing, or eliminating their debt. The laws governing debt reduction strategies vary by jurisdiction. As such, the activities of debt relief lawyers may vary widely depending on the laws in the area where a debtor lives. In many places, a debt relief lawyer may specialize in negotiating partial or total debt forgiveness on behalf of his or her clients. In other cases, this type of attorney may advocate bankruptcy as the best solution for dealing with unmanageable debt.

Many people who find themselves in a situation where they cannot manage their debts may attempt to negotiate with creditors on their own. Although this strategy works for many people, some individuals are nervous about approaching their creditors. They may then seek out the services of debt relief lawyers who are experienced in this type of negotiation. In some cases, creditors may be more responsive to a communication from an attorney than from a debtor. In other cases, the attorney, as a third party to the situation, is simply less emotionally involved in the case and is thus better able to negotiate an acceptable compromise for both creditor and debtor.

One advantage to working with debt relief lawyers is that these attorneys are often able to advise creditors about their rights and options under the law. For example, some debtors may be so deeply in debt that it is unlikely that they will ever be able to repay their creditors. Debt relief lawyers are often in a good position to evaluate the debtor’s situation and recommend bankruptcy as a possible way to eliminate the debt and start fresh. These attorneys may also represent the debtor against collection agencies who are harassing the debtor or threatening legal action.

Some debt relief lawyers do not negotiate debt settlements, but instead simply specialize in bankruptcy. As bankruptcy laws can be complex, many people choose to work with bankruptcy attorneys so that they can more easily manage the process. In some cases, financial experts strongly advise consumers to seek advice from multiple sources when trying to figure out what to do about their unmanageable debt. They will caution debtors from relying solely on the advice of debt relief lawyers when it may be possible for the consumer to negotiate a repayment plan through credit counseling or on his own by speaking to his creditors directly.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Lainie Petersen
By Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an editor. With a unique educational background, she crafts engaging content and hosts podcasts and radio shows, showcasing her versatility as a media and communication professional. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any media organization.
Discussion Comments
By Markerrag — On Dec 28, 2014

@Terrificli -- That is partly true. When it comes to smaller credit card debts and such, the chances are good that they won't negotiate. Those institutions that hold smaller debts don't want to lower what is owed to them so that some other company can get paid in full.

When it comes to larger debts, you will find creditors much more willing to negotiate. Let's say a debtor owes $300,000 to a creditor. That debtor can afford to pay $90,000 of it back, but will file for bankruptcy if pressed for more.

Will that creditor negotiate? There is a good chance that creditor would love to negotiate a settlement. Collecting $90,000 is a lot better than getting nothing.

By Terrificli — On Dec 27, 2014

The last part of this article nails it. Why bother with a bunch of debt relief negotiation when everything will probably wind up in bankruptcy, anyway? Once someone gets deep enough in debt, they will learn in a hurry that digging out from under it is almost impossible. Creditors don't want to negotiate, debt collectors will still push as hard as they can and the only way to put a stop to all of that is to file for bankruptcy.

Start there and don't fool around with a bunch of negotiation.

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an...
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