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Terry L.
Terry L., Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 2815
Experience:  Better Business Bureau. 18yrs bankruptcy experience. Chicago Bar Assoc. American Bankruptcy Institute member.
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I opened a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy claim with an attorney back

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I opened a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy claim with an attorney back on April 26, 2010. His fee was $2,550 which included the fee for the online bankruptcy courses to be taken. I completed the first course, pre-filing credit counseling, and have a receipt of that dated April 29,2010 and the receipts for my lawyers fee payments. A year past by and nothing was given to me as far as a court date or any paperwork other than the receipts I mentioned. I would stop by his office every couple of months and found his office locked and unable to see him my last few attempts doing so in the spring of 2011 so I wrote an email to the MCBA asking if they knew of his whereabouts. I was informed that he had to stop practicing law due to health issues and that my case file was reassigned to another lawyer and I was given the info to contact him. I called that day and wasn't able to speak with my new attorney because he wasn't in. I was never informed by my original attorney's office of his not being able to handle my case to this day. I decided to pay the new attorney a visit in October, 2011 and was informed that my file couldn't be found and that he would call me when he found my file if he was given it. I received a call from him a few days later and was told that he found my file and would have to charge me additional monies since he was given many of the cases my original lawyer was working on and that he had not received the thousands of dollars that were paid in fees for the cases he inheriated. He also explained that the daughter of my original lawyer was handling my case and many others and had done nothing for the year that she had it. I was also informed by my newly appointed lawyer that the daughter of my original lawyer has no college education and probably shouldn't have been involved. I was told by a few people I know who have gone threw bankrutcy and was told that I paid way to much. I was informed that others have paid as low as $1,000 -$1,500 for a chapter 7 bankruptcy claim and it was taken care of in much less time. My questions are: Did I pay to much in lawyers fees and if so what can I do about? Can my new lawyer charge me more for something I paid in full with my original lawyer? How long does it take to have a court date apointed for bankrutcy? Unfortunately the lawyer I first seen had past away a few weeks ago.
Hi, thanks for your question. You should hire a lawyer for specific legal advice. No attorney client relationship is created here.

Tough situation here.
First, as to what you were charged. Every case is different, some harder, some easier, and can vary by city, state and the attorney you choose as well. Maybe you were, maybe not, just too many variables.

As for the 'assigned attorney' charging you more. This may depend on the agreement they have with the old attorney. You are not obligated to pay more, although the attorney doesn't have to do the work. Best to talk to them to see what can be worked out. Unfortunately, whether the other attorney pays the new attorney or not, is between them.

You can request a refund from the old attorney. If they are gone, or have died, then this may be futile. You can also file a complaint against the old attorney with the bar association. You can also sue, maybe they had malpractice insurance.

Sorry you are in the situation you are in. It may be best to ask for a refund, demand your file back, and go to another attorney, and pay them for better service.

Cases can be filed right away, if all of the required information is there. The average time frame is 2-3 weeks from when the documents are given back to the attorney to file the case.
Wish I had better info for you. Thanks for your question, good luck.
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