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One reader had already learned about whether to hire a student loan lawyer. But he wrote to us asking for something much more practical — a list of qualified student loan lawyers in Phoenix. He submitted this question to our support team:
“I have determined that I need to seek legal counsel. Can you help me locate a qualified lawyer that helps people with a federal student loan?”
After all, consumer attorneys have niches. You might see attorneys brand themselves as debt relief lawyers, for example.
If you have a federal loan problem you can’t solve without support, you might seek a self-ascribed student loan lawyer who handles federal cases.
On the other hand, if your situation centers on a troubling private loan, you’ll want to stay local. Private loans “are subject to state law,” student loan lawyer Joshua Cohen told Student Loan Hero.
5 places to find a student loan lawyer
Now that you know a little bit more about the kind of lawyer you’re seeking, let’s address the question about where to find one.
Your first thought might be to search on Google or ask a friend who has a similar student loan problem. These basic strategies could lead you to the right professional.
But browsing online is more likely to send you to a firm with a superior internet marketing strategy, not necessarily top-notch service. And asking a neighbor who received great service might pair you with a lawyer who doesn’t specialize in your case.
With these pitfalls in mind, here are five alternatives to consider. They range from industry, professional, and public organizations. All offer referrals.
1. National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA)
Counting bankruptcy attorneys as members, the NACBA works at the legislative level to represent consumers in debt. But it also offers more basic resources for its audience.
Using the website’s directory of member lawyers, you can search by name or firm. If you don’t have a referral yet, you could use the site’s map of member lawyers to find one near you. The map will allow you to see each attorney’s location and information.
2. National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA)
NACA is a bar association of 1,500-plus consumer rights attorneys. A special section of its website is reserved for consumers having trouble with the servicing or collection of federal and private student loans.
Using its attorney directory, you can select student loans (or bankruptcy) from the drop-down menu, plus the state where you live. Each clickable search result will offer the lawyer’s areas of expertise in greater detail.
3. Bar associations
The American Bar Association (ABA), a professional organization with more than 400,000 members, doesn’t offer attorney referrals. But it does refer you to three kinds of resources by state:
If you live in Arizona, for example, the ABA’s clickable maps would lead you to:
- Maricopa County Volunteer Lawyers Program
- State Bar of Arizona
- Maricopa County Bar Association’s lawyer referral service
You’ll have to do some navigating on these websites to find programs and lawyers that specialize in student loans.
Don’t worry if you’re coming up empty on your state’s ABA-approved offerings. You could also contact your state’s consumer protection office. USA.gov has a helpful directory.
4. Legal Services Corporation (LSC)
If you’re a low-income student loan borrower and the ABA’s pro-bono offerings are lacking in your state, check out the LSC. The nonprofit funds 133 legal aid programs to help individuals at or near poverty level struggling with five types of issues, including consumers with student loans.
5. Lawyer review websites
The fifth and final free strategy to find student loan lawyers near you is to consult a lawyer review website like Avvo or LegalZoom. You might have already landed on a similar one after searching on Google.
Although not as objective as the previous four resources, these sites could be a good starting point to find a candidate to represent you. Keep in mind that some platforms won’t include student loan law as a specialty. At Avvo, for example, you can find local lawyers who work on debt collection and debt settlement cases.
Another word of caution: Remember that the lawyer profiles on these sorts of websites are advertisements. So avoid sweet-talking, dressed-up lawyers who don’t actually specialize in loans.
Find the right student loan lawyer for your situation
Hopefully, you’ll find student loan lawyers specializing in your case from a couple of our five recommended resources. Once you have the names and contact information of at least a few candidates, vet each lawyer with probing questions. You’ll want to ask, for example, about their fees as well as their experience dealing with cases like yours.
A student loan lawyer can deliver the professional help you might need. Finding one might seem like the hard part, but the challenge lies in finding the right one.
If you have a student loan question you’ve been waiting for an answer to, contact our customer support team. Your question might end up in this column.
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