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Joseph Scott
Joseph Scott, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 171
Experience:  I have practiced bankruptcy law for 10 years. Have handled hundreds of cases.
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I am answering a Motion For Leave To Withdraw as Counsel For

Customer Question

I am answering a Motion For Leave To Withdraw as Counsel For Debtor

Short history: the law firm wants to drop me as client because I owe them money and don't have the means to pay. I owe the law firm money because they failed to give me basic sound bankruptcy advice and it led to Adversary Proceedings.

What section of the law pertains to attorneys not getting paid because they failed to give basic sound legal advice?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  Joseph Scott replied 2 years ago.

Joseph Scott :

Are you available to chat?

Joseph Scott :

I am more than happy to discuss this issue with you as soon as you are available.

Customer:

Available at the moment

Joseph Scott :

Are you still available?

Customer:

Yes

Joseph Scott :

First off, getting a leave to withdraw in a bankruptcy case is a very difficult thing. Once the law firm has filed your petition, it's not easy to get out of representing you.

Joseph Scott :

However, I am wondering how their ineffective lead to you not being able to pay their fees? Did they charge you extra for the adversaial proceeding?

Customer:

Yes, they did

Joseph Scott :

Okay, how much did they charge you?

Customer:

And have not sent me any invoices explaining the balance due

Customer:

$3,400.00 ish

Customer:

let me find the papers

Joseph Scott :

What chapter did you file?

Customer:

Chapter 7

Joseph Scott :

They charged you $3,400 for a Chapter 7, that is outlandish!!! How much for the Adversarial Proceeding?

Customer:

let me clarify $3,462.22 representing post-petition fees and expenses that were not included as part of a simple uncontested bankruptcy

Joseph Scott :

How much do they say you owe them?

Customer:

$1,500.00 to file chapter 7 bankruptcy and

Customer:

they say I owe $3,462.22

Joseph Scott :

I have never heard of $3,462.00 for a chapter 7.

Customer:

And I spent about $2500.00 in additional pre bankruptcy fees

Joseph Scott :

What are pre-bankruptcy fees? You paid the law firm $2,500 before they filed?

Customer:

It was the firms advice that lead to a contested bankruptcy

Customer:

Yes, to help me with law suits from credit card companies

Joseph Scott :

Do you have a copy of your petition available? Can you section where the law firm lists how much you paid for your bankruptcy fees?

Joseph Scott :

Can you find the section . . .

Joseph Scott :

Do the money go to the law firm to payments to the credit card companies?

Joseph Scott :

Did the money go to the law firm or to payments to the credit card companies?

Customer:

I have a copy of the petition available, they do not list the total amount I paid them

Joseph Scott :

Sorry, my typing is a little off right now.

Customer:

No money went to credit card companies

Customer:

So is mine

Joseph Scott :

All law firms must list the amount it charges for the bankruptcy. Usually it is toward the end of the petition.

Customer:

Not listed

Customer:

I suppose I should list the total amount paid to the law firm to date in my response

Joseph Scott :

The form is called "Statement disclosing compensation paid or to be paid to the attorney".

Joseph Scott :

I would definitely list the amount of money you have paid them. No attorney should charge more than $1,600 to do a chapter 7, $1,800 at the most, and that is pretty high.

Joseph Scott :

If you list the amount of money you have paid, and you show your receipts, I would state that you are under the impression that you have paid your fees in full. Do you have a written bankruptcy contract?

Customer:

No form called "Statement disclosing compensation paid or to be paid to the attorney" is included with Motion.

Customer:

Yes, let me get it

Joseph Scott :

It should be in your original petition that you filed. Your attorneys have to file the statement, it is required.

Customer:

there is a line that states...pursuant to the Disclosure of Attorney Compensation previously filed with this court by Debtor's counsel

Joseph Scott :

Exactly, I bet you a million dollars the you have already paid more than the amount listed in the form filed with the court. In addition, if they charged you more for the Adversarial Proceeding, then they are required to file an amendment Statement Disclosing Compensation Paid with the court showing the additional payments. If not, then they have violated the rules.

Joseph Scott :

"Amended Statement"

Customer:

I have to mail the answer on Monday, I don't know if they have filed an 'Amended Statement'

Customer:

Answer is due tuesday

Joseph Scott :

They should have mailed you a copy.

Joseph Scott :

So here is what i would do if I were is a similar situation.

Joseph Scott :

I file my answer, send it FedEX, to make sure it makes it on time. If you can, I would take it to the court directly, because you need to make sure it gets there on time. You can also file it online, but you would have to speak to the court to see about how to do it.

Joseph Scott :

But, I would put in my answer that you have paid nearly $3,500 in attorney fees. The contract states that the firm would file the petition for a total of $1,800 (whatever the number is), and that you have paid it.

Joseph Scott :

I make a copy of your contract, send a copy of your checks or receipts from the firm. I will further explain that you have never received a statement or invoice from the firm, and you do not know how much more you owe.

Customer:

This is what my contract says:

Joseph Scott :

That you have paid more than the contracted amount, and if they firm withdraws it will cause you irreversible harm because you do not have any more money to hire a new firm, and no firm would come in halfway into the proceedings anyway.

Joseph Scott :

"irreparable harm" is the term of art to use.

Customer:

This will confirm that you will be charged a fee of $1,500.00 for legal work, payable in advance, encompassing the following:

Customer:

preparation and filing of the chapter 7 bankruptcy petition including the required schedules and statements: and

Customer:

representation in bankruptcy court for any proceedings that are in the normal course of a chapter 7 bankruptcy. and

Customer:

All other matters except those stated above, including, but not limited to, any post bankruptcy matters, filings and court proceedings are not included in this fee. and

Joseph Scott :

Okay, if you include your contract, your payments, etc., the law firm will not be able to get out of your case. Please remember the term "irreparable harm" and use it in your answer. If you show those things, the court will not let them out of your case. You do not need to get too far into their bad advice, etc., unless you have time. But, according to their contract, they've already charged you too much.

Customer:

This fee does not include any filing fees charged by the court

Joseph Scott :

Yeah, but those are only like $299.00, you've already paid those.

Joseph Scott :

Well, I have an appointment that I have to go to, do you have anymore questions?

Customer:

Thank you for your advice, I have been working on this for two days, and will get this other stuff in there.

Joseph Scott :

No problem, I think you're going to be okay. If you get that information in there, I don't see how the court will let them out.

Joseph Scott, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 171
Experience: I have practiced bankruptcy law for 10 years. Have handled hundreds of cases.
Joseph Scott and 2 other Bankruptcy Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
fyi - my hearing date was today the judge granted the motion for my attorney to withdraw as my council based on my bankruptcy being discharged and that there were no bankruptcy litigation pending against me. The judge also question the need for a motion to be filed in the first place.

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