Student loans are frustrating and burdensome at the best of times, but at the worst of times they can cause some serious damage to credit history, banking credentials, and future finances. In cases where borrowers have reached critical mass regarding their student loan issues, one potential option is to seek the assistance of a student loan lawyer. While perhaps not the first option people typically pursue, a student loan lawyer can be a powerful resource representing the borrower's interests and provide guidance through the complex world of debt management.
Just like lawyers specialize in real estate, family, or criminal law, some lawyers have taken it upon themselves to focus on student loan law. Student loan attorneys are well researched in the nuances presented by the American student loan system, both federal and private, and understand the problems faced by debtors who are in dispute or default with their creditors.
Technically, anyone can navigate through even the most complex issues related to student loans by themselves (bankruptcy claims, defaults, and renegotiating repayments), but in reality many debtors can feel very overwhelmed. Especially if there is a dispute with their student loan holder, it can be incredibly daunting to face off against large financial institutions without having professional advice.
It seems student loan lawyers are few and far between across America. A few quick inquiries with the National Association of Consumer Advocates can confirm where the current student loan attorneys have set up practice. If there are lawyers available locally, it's always good practice to do a personal search on google to ensure they are qualified and have positive reviews. If a borrower's search for lawyers returns no names, another option is to look for lawyers who focus on debt, bankruptcy, and insolvency. They should also have some expertise in the area of student loans.
When do you Need a Student Loan Lawyer?
While not every case requires a lawyer, most professionals advise debtors to seek advocacy under the following circumstances:
- If they have been sued and need representation in court.
- If they have defaulted on their loan, and are unsure how to resolve the issue on their own.
- If they are in dispute about payment, credit score, or have other problems with their financial institution.
- If they are constantly harassed by a debt collector.
- If they are unsure of their legal rights in the face of debt collectors or large financial institutions.
- If they are confused, overwhelmed, or at the end of their rope regarding student loans and need professional guidance on what the next steps are and which steps are appropriate for their situation.
There are countless student loan assistance organizations available across the country. However, they are not always perfect, and some have even been found to take advantage of borrowers who find themselves in trouble. When done right, many organizations do provide solid advice about debt repayment; but at the end of the day they cannot represent their clients in court and act mainly as a resource of information.
Student loan lawyers, on the other hand, are there to advocate for their clients’ rights and can assist with even minor details such as communication with the student loan provider. A lawyer can negotiate on behalf of their client for better repayment terms and will know the ins and outs of what repayment plan, deferment, or other options are available for each case. In some cases they may even reach a settlement or have a loan waived altogether.
Student loan lawyers are typically consulted when all else fails because they can be an additional expense for people already in debt. Not all cases require lawyers, but they can offer relief and may even end up saving their clients some money. It always depends on what the individual is seeking and what the details of the situation are.
For those who believe their case is dire enough to warrant paying for a lawyer, consultation fees vary but are usually a small price to pay for vital information. During the consultation, present the details of the issue to the attorney at length and ask precise questions about what pricing structure they offer. Again, lawyers can be pricey as most work hourly or under retainers, but some situations may warrant using an attorney's services. In some cases a lawyer could even offer to take the case on contingency, that is, payment is only required if and when they win in court.