Hello, Jim, and Welcome to JustAnswer, My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with Excellent Service,
I am so sorry to hear about what the attorney is charging you. An attorney's fees are regulated in bankruptcy proceedings and an attorney cannot charge over a certain amount depending on the Chapter under which the debtor has filed. Under Chapter 11, an attorney cannot charge over approximately $14,000. I say "approximately" because although bankruptcy proceedings fall under the Federal bankruptcy laws, the maximum amount that an attorney can charge as his fee is regulated by local law. Your attorney is charging you far in excess of what is permitted and you should immediately contact your Trustee in Bankruptcy and inform the Trustee of what the attorney is doing, The Trustee will see to it that the attorney refunds all excess funds which you have paid him,
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ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC SECTIONS OF LAW THAT I CAN REFER TO, DOES THIS VIOLATE ANY ETHICS OR PROFESSIONS CODE UNDER BK OR CA. LAW. CORDIALLY JIM
Hi, Jim, Please allow me to amend my original Answer. Chapter 11 bankruptcies are more complex and require more work than those Petitions filed under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. The normal charges for a Chapter 11 do not have the same limitaitons as a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13. The lawyer usually charges a retainer of $10,000 to $15,000 for the Chapter 11, but then will charge the client his hourly rate. However, the lawyer has to be mindful of the fact that he is representing a client who is filing a Petition in Bankruptcy and what caused this is the client's lack of funds. The lawyer should not try to bleed the client dry and this is one of the functions of the Trustee in Bankruptcy. There are no rules that can be cited because they are not written in the Bankruptcy Code, rather, they are enforced by local custom of each Bankruptcy Court. This is why I strongly suggest that you bring this to the attention of the Trustee. Even though a lawyer can charge more for a Chapter 11 Petition in Bankruptcy, your lawyer's fees are unusually high for a bankruptcy. I would also strongly suggest that you demand from your lawyer an "Itemized Bill for Legal Services Rendered" so that you get an explanation for each charge and that the lawyer does not present you with a bill and tell you, "Here, you owe me another $75,000", without any explanation, as if it is a drop in the bucket.
ANDREA I HAVE THE SAME QUESTION ABOUT BILLING REGARDING ETHICS AND PROFESSIONS CODE FOR CALIFORNIA FAMILY LAW DIVORCE ATTORNEYS. MY SOON TO BE X WIFE AND I ARE HAVING THE SAME EXACT SENERIO WITH THEIR BILLS AND PS THIS DIVORCE HAS BEEN ON-GOING SINCE AUGUST 2009 AND I AM ON MY 4TH ATTORNEY.
Jim, When a lawyer takes on a client, the lawyer must send the client a Retainer letter which sets forth the extent of the services he will be performing, his hourly rate, how he charges (In tenths of an hour,, quarter hours, etc.) and what additional charges there will be (postage copying costs, messenger service, FedEx, etc.). The letter will also state the amount of his initial Retainer. The lawyer would then send the client a bill each month and apply the Retainer to the work he or she has done. Let me try and show you what type of bills you should be receiving from your lawyer. It is a little difficult because you cannot format the paper the way you want it in this little Answer box. But, try and visualize a bill with 3 columns, with the left column being the date, the middle column describing the work done and the right column will indicate how much time it took. Let me draft a hypothetical bill for a divorce case, I'll do just part of it to show you what you should be receiving.
Date Description of Legal Services Rendered Time
4/1/13 Meeting with client, 1.0
4/1/13 Memo to file, Dictate facts, open file. .6
4/4/13 Review file, Initial draft of Complaint in Divorce 2.8
4/5/13 Review & Revise Complaint 4.0
4/5/13 Call to client Re: Alimony Issue .2
4/5/13 Letter to client w/first draft of Complaint for Review .2
4/11/13 Call from client w/comments .4
4/16/13 Revise Complaint w/client comments 1.6
4/18/13 Letter w/Complaint to Court Clerk, cc: Client .3
TOTAL HOURS FOR APRIL, 2013 11.1
11.1 Hrs.@ $300 Hr. ....................... $3,330
Retainer ...................... $10,000
April, 2013 Bill.............. $ 3,330
Retainer Balance $ 6,670
Balance Due -0-
So, you see, the itemized bill tells you exactly what legal services I performed for you during the month of April and how much time it took. The total number of hours, multiplied by the hourly rate and that is subtracted from the Retainer. Lastly, you know how much of your Retainer is left. There is never any doubt or question in my clients' mind as to what I did, where his money "went", etc.
This is the kind of bill you should be getting from any attorney that you engage so that there is never any question in your mind as to what the attorney did, what the status of your case is and what the attorney will be doing next. You would not be getting a bill that states nothing more than,
April 2013 10 Hrs @ $300 ...................... $3,000
That bill tells you absolutely nothing - Doesn't tell you what the attorney did, what progress was made in your case, what the status is, where your $3,000 went, etc.
You should ask your attorney to be sending you an Itemized Bill for Legal Services rendered every month, and it is your right to be receiving such a bill
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