The title sounds like a self-contradiction, doesn't it? But in bankruptcy law, it's not. You generally get what you pay for, and a bankruptcy lawyer is no exception. If you want good representation, you have to pay for it.
It is not uncommon for people to call our office and ask how much we charge for our services. (I instruct my staff not to try to answer this question over the phone for several reasons, but that is not the issue I'm writing about here.) These callers are price-shopping for an attorney, which is probably the worst way to choose one. Would you choose your doctor that way?
Because of the bad economy, many lawyers who lost their jobs began practicing bankruptcy law. Like any other area of practice, there is a lot to learn and mistakes will be made along the way. There are also bankruptcy "mills" that process as many clients as they can, but provide poor service and usually do not even have an attorney talk to the client. A cheap attorney is almost always one who is new and not yet sure of what they're doing, or a mill that will not provide good service and will probably not let you talk to an attorney.
A mistake by your bankruptcy attorney can cost you far more than it saves you. For example, let's say that you save $500 by choosing the cheapest attorney you called. An inexperienced attorney or bankruptcy mill might not know that you needed to exempt your expected income tax refund of $2,000. The trustee then takes your tax refund, since it was not exempted, and your net loss was $1,500. Say goodbye to the $500 you thought you saved!
Choose your bankruptcy attorney by whether you think they are competent and whether you feel comfortable with them. The money they save you could greatly exceed the amount you might save by hiring a cheaper lawyer.