What can you do if you have an unresponsive bankruptcy lawyer not returning your calls? Two clients had this problem with another bankruptcy lawyer. Each case involving an unresponsive bankruptcy lawyer concerned people in chapter 13 cases. Both were represented by the same attorney.
What were the situations? Each chapter 13 plan had been confirmed by the court. Each client had problems living under the budget imposed by the plan. The main problem was an underestimation of monthly medical expenses. Once they paid the doctor and the drug store, there wasn’t enough money to live on.
They contacted me by email through my contact page because this attorney was not returning their phone calls. A quick docket check revealed the attorney was just sitting back collecting the bankruptcy attorney fees earned up to confirmation. The fees were quite large and approved well over the no look amount.
I suggested they continue in their efforts to call the lawyer. I know this particular attorney and I believed there was a real concern for the client. I was wrong. Each client tried for months with no luck. No return phone calls. Sadly, they just got further and further underwater while the attorney collected more and more fees. Finally it got to the point where they notified the attorney in writing she was fired. Can you fire your lawyer? Sure. They work for you. Just like any employee. You are the employer.
It is never a good idea to go through a chapter 13 bankruptcy case without a lawyer. In each of these cases the clients ultimately hired me to complete their case. One involved conversion to a chapter 7 case where it should have been from the start had the original attorney understood and completed the means test effectively. The other was finally discharged in a chapter 7 case following a voluntary dismissal, and a re-filed bankruptcy.
This cloud does have a silver lining, the clients successfully added to their bankruptcy the money payable to the non-responsive bankruptcy lawyer and discharged the balances on the remaining fees.
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