Some student loan debt attorneys will provide free consultations. Use this as an opportunity to find a lawyer that you’re comfortable with. Here are some questions that you can ask to help evaluate them.
How many student loan settlements do you negotiate each year? Ideally, you’ll want to hire someone who regularly negotiates payoffs for student debt. The more cases they settle each year, the better idea they should have of what a reasonable discount would be and what type of repayment plans the creditor will accept (i.e., lump-sum payments, monthly payments, or a combination of the two).
Can you provide me with some case studies of past settlements? Ask your lawyer to share some examples of settlements they’ve negotiated in the past. This can give you an idea of what’s possible and what you might expect.
Have you worked with my lender previously? Although prior experience with a debt collection agency or lender isn’t necessary, it’s helpful. Each company has its own guidelines for settling student loan debt. Knowing those guidelines can give you a leg up.
What are the risks involved with settling? Your lawyer should be upfront about the risks involved in pursuing a student loan settlement, including wage garnishment and credit report damage.
Who’s going to handle my case? Given the amount of debt at stake, I don’t recommend having a paralegal be your primary point of contact. Your lawyer should work closely with you from the beginning and know the ins and outs of your financial situation.
What’s your fee structure? Many attorneys are willing to work with you to set up a payment plan to pay their fees. However, some may require full payment before they file your case.