Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding with the federal bankruptcy Courts
Depending on the type of bankruptcy you qualify for, you can either eliminate all of your dischargeable debts (credit cards, medical bills, other debts but not taxes, student loans, and certain specific debts) or can create a 3 to 5 year repayment plan
where you repay part or all of your debts. You can exempt whatever property is allowed by your state laws in either chapter of bankruptcy.
The easiest place to find a bankruptcy attorney is in the local phone book. Many will give a free initial consultation where they can figure out if bankruptcy is right.
Most debt settlement companies are, in my experience, scams. They tell you not to pay your creditors, but they can't stop them from suing. They take huge fees upfront. Then, because you don't pay, they sue and the debt settlement company won't help with the lawsuit because they aren't attorneys. Creditors start suing typically around the time that the debt settlement companies get their upfront fees paid. By that time, people usually go to a bankruptcy attorney.
Filing a bankruptcy puts an automatic stay on lawsuits and stops creditors from trying to collect against the debtor in any fashion. Starting debt settlement doesn't.
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Remember, this is for entertainment and educational discussion only and is not intended as legal advice and that no attorney client relationship is formed.