Can a non-bankruptcy lawyer file a chapter 13 for me? 33 Answers as of July 04, 2013

I was referred to an attorney by a family friend who agreed to file a chapter 13 for me last week. I just googled his name and saw on his website that his is a personal injury lawyer. Is he legally allowed to file a bankruptcy?

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Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
Any lawyer can legally file a bankruptcy for you. You can legally file bankruptcy yourself without a lawyer. Still, it is a very good idea to have a competent, experienced, intelligent bankruptcy lawyer represent you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/15/2011
Dan Shay Law
Dan Shay Law | Daniel Shay
Yes, so long as he is admitted to Federal Court in your District. It will be difficult for him to file docs in BK court if he is not signed up for ECF Bankruptcy Filing at the Bankruptcy Court, but it is possible.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/14/2011
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
Any attorney that is licensed in the Federal Court system may file a bankruptcy. If your case is not complex, then you may be ok working with a non-bankruptcy lawyer.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 7/11/2011
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
Yes, any attorney can take any case but is ethically only suppose to if he can competently do so, or can reasonably get competent to do so.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/10/2013
Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
Sure, any licensed lawyer can file. You're better off to have someone with experience in Chapter 13 because they're complicated.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 7/11/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    It is wise to use an experience bankruptcy attorney rather than someone unfamiliar with this specialization. For example, you wouldn't want to consult a bankruptcy attorney for a personal injury lawsuit or vice-versa.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/11/2011
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
    Any lawyer can file any type of case.And you can hire any type of lawyer to do any type of case for you, generally it's better to have someone experienced but no rule requires it.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    Law Office of J. Scott Logan, LLC
    Law Office of J. Scott Logan, LLC | John Scott Logan
    He is allowed to file. Chapter 13 is a specialized process and you and he may both have a very tough time of it, but he can file for you.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    Financial Relief Law Center
    Financial Relief Law Center | Mark Alonso
    Yes, you can have a general practice attorney, or an attorney that specializes in another area of law to handle your bankruptcy, however, it is recommended that you have someone who is experienced in this field to handle your filing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC | Theodore N. Stapleton
    A chapter 13 can be complicated and you should have a bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    Sentinel Law P.A.
    Sentinel Law P.A. | Joshua Cossey
    An attorney must be admitted into the Federal District for which you reside, and the Bankruptcy Court in that Federal District. He may be planning to use a colleague if he is not admitted. However, just because he practices personal injury law, doesn't mean he can't practice bankruptcy as well. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Unless you are already a client of Sentinel Law, P.A., pursuant to an executed attorney-client agreement, you should not use, interpret, or rely on this response as legal advice or opinion. Do not act on any information in this response without speaking to an attorney, as there may be details surrounding your situation that would give rise to further explanation or clarification.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    Legally the lawyer can do it because he or she is licensed to practice law. It is a very bad idea however because Chapter 13 is tricky and that is complicated by the fact that each judge has their own procedures on how the case will proceed. I have seen more than one non-bankruptcy lawyer go down in flames in front of the judge. Currently I have 2 cases I have taken over from non-bankruptcy lawyers.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Law Office of Jackie Robert Geller
    Law Office of Jackie Robert Geller | Jackie Robert Geller
    He must be admitted to practice before the United States District Court in which the case will be filed. If he is admitted, then he can file the case. Whether you should employ him is another question. Chapter 13 is complicated and it would be better to use an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Tucker Legal Clinic
    Tucker Legal Clinic | Samuel Tucker
    A lawyer who may hold himself or herself out as having expertise in one or another field of law can generally practice in any other area. In most states an attorney who mentions a non-bankruptcy practice area is not prohibited from representing client in the Bankruptcy Court.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    If he is admitted to practice in the federal District Court for your jurisdiction, then he is legally allowed to file it for you. Whether it is advisable or not is an entirely different story.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    Anyone admitted to practice law in the federal district court where you need to file the bankruptcy case can legally represent you in the bankruptcy court of that federal district court or in any other type of case in the federal district court where the lawyer is admitted to practice. The bankruptcy court is a branch of the federal district court. The federal district courts will not admit a lawyer to practice unless the lawyer is first admitted to practice by the Supreme Court of the state where the federal district court is located. For example, for a lawyer to be admitted to practice in the federal district court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles area), including the bankruptcy court in that district, the lawyer has to be an active member of the California Bar which requires that the lawyer be admitted to practice by the California Supreme Court and is in good standing. However, you should not hire a lawyer to represent you in a bankruptcy case unless the lawyer has extensive experience in bankruptcy law, particularly in a Chapter 13 case. Bankruptcy is a legal specialty. Just like you should not have a physician who is not an orthopedist set your broken arm, you should not have a personal injury lawyer handle your bankruptcy case. Ask the attorney if he is admitted to practice in the federal district court where you are going to file and how much experience he or she has doing bankruptcy cases and Chapter 13 cases particularly. If the lawyer does not have at least three years experience handling bankruptcy cases then you should find a more experienced attorney. Keep in mind that many attorneys like me have extensive experience in bankruptcy law as well as other legal specialties like personal injury litigation and real estate law. Also, the lawyer you retained may have different websites for different types of cases he or she routinely handles.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    Yes, he is "allowed". But is is like hiring a painting contractor to do your plumbing. If he does not have the experience, why use him? Particularly when Chapter 13 has many specialized issues that require being familiar with creating Chapter 13 plans.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    Any lawyer admitted to practice before the federal district court in which the case is going to be filed can indeed file a bankruptcy case and represent you; however, the more important issue may be whether someone who doesn't regularly practice bankruptcy is in a good position to competently represent a bankruptcy debtor, especially one in Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is a much more straighforward process than 13, which can be very complex and nuanced.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Shmucher Law, PL
    Shmucher Law, PL | Ofer Shmucher
    Any attorney who is eligible to practice in federal court (of the state that you live in) is able to file your bankruptcy case for you. However I caution you, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is extremely complex and I would not suggest you use a non-seasoned bankruptcy attorney to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy on your behalf.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Law Offices of Michael T. Krueger
    Law Offices of Michael T. Krueger | Michael Krueger
    If the attorney is admitted to the federal court district where you will be filing the attorney is allowed to represent you in a bankruptcy. Each district sets limits on the fees an attorney can charge in a chapter 13. Chapter 13 bankruptcies can be very complex. Make sure you ask your attorney if he or she is experienced in filing chapter 13 bankruptcies and is aware of the changes to the bankruptcy code sine 2005.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    Yes, as long as he knows what to do. There are no special licenses required.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    If the lawyer is admitted to federal court, he is allowed to represent a client in bankruptcy. Perhaps personal injury is not his only area of expertise. You should ensure that he has experience with Chapter 13 cases before proceeding any further, however. Chapter 13 plans can be complex and you need to know that you have someone who knows what they are doing.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/7/2011
    The Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm
    The Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm | Thomas A McAvity
    As long as he is licensed in federal court.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    If he is a licensed attorney, and is admitted before the federal court in the district that you will be filing in, then yes, he may file your bankruptcy. Does he have any experience at all in bankruptcy? Chapter 13s can go from simple to complex very quickly.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/6/2011
    Law Office of Harry L Styron
    Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
    He is legally allowed to represent you in bankruptcy court, but you need to find out whether he has ever filed a Chapter 13 plan that was confirmed by the court before. It is very complex to put together a 13 plan. You probably will have less grief if you retain a bankruptcy lawyer to do it for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/6/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Any attorney can file can do any type of law (except patent law) but using an attorney who doesn't do that type of work can result in less than excellent results. I strongly suggest hiring an attorney who does chapter 13s. The additional cost will be worth it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/6/2011
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams | Asaph Abrams
    Can he? Yes, if he is admitted in the correct court. Should he? No. Bankruptcy is highly specialized and even lawyers retain bankruptcy lawyers.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/6/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    Yes but he should know his way around a Ch 13 and they are not easy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    The Law Offices of Alan M. Laskin
    The Law Offices of Alan M. Laskin | Jared B. Gaynor
    Yes, but I can't think of a single reason to hire a non-experienced attorney with something as complex as a Chapter 13.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/6/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    He can but you would have to be a fool to hire him. Chapter 13s are complex and you do not want a novice. Experience matters greatly.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/6/2011
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