How should I find a new attorney? 15 Answers as of July 10, 2013

My current attorney has worked on my bankruptcy filing for 5 months and has filed several of the necessary forms. My attorney is now saying he will charge me more than initially stated in the retainer because of unforseen complications which he claims is becaues I did not notify him about. I want a new attorney but the ones I have contacted have not agreed because I am in the middle of my case. How can I find a new attorney?

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The Law Office of Marvin Wolf
The Law Office of Marvin Wolf | Marvin Wolf
Generally, a client can discharge an attorney at any time in the case. I don't understand what you mean by" filed 'SOME' of the necessary forms." If they are necessary, they needed to be filed or an extension granted or the case will be dismissed. Usually, a retainer contains what will happen if something unexpected comes up. One attorney can substitute in for another attorney in the middle of a case, but often a new attorney does not want to take on responsibility for another attorney's mistakes which may have fatally doomed the case - because it can make him look bad. When an attorney claims a client has not been forthright, it creates a conflict of interest so further representation by that attorney may be impossible - sometimes it's the client's fault - by inadvertently or sometimes deliberately omitting to list assets; and sometimes it's the attorney's fault because the attorney failed to ask the right questions or may lack sufficient skill. I don't know what happened in your case or who is at fault, if anyone. Be aware that when a case is in trouble, it can cost more than the original case cost in order to fix it, assuming it can be fixed, so there can be money issues in finding a new lawyer. Finding a new attorney under such circumstances can be difficult. I and several of my skilled colleagues have substituted in for other attorneys in the past it's an unusual, but not rare event. I cannot say more without providing you with disclosure forms required under the new Code, and you should not say any more in writing on a public forum in the event there will be a Rule 2004 hearing or other investigation (so you can preserve attorney-client privilege). More than ever these days, bankruptcy practice is all about complications and resolving them - it's a normal part of our job to foresee them if possible and develop a plan of attack PRIOR to filing.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 7/12/2011
Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
It is very difficult to change attorneys in the middle of the filing. You would have to find one and then your current attorney would have to agree to withdraw. Many attorneys will not take anyone that is having problems with the attorney they have, but it is like jumping into a mud puddle blindfolded. Good luck, hope you can either find someone or work it out with your current attorney.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/12/2011
Apple Law Firm PLLC
Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
First it is not unreasonable to ask for more money when there are unforeseen circumstances. You need to check your fee agreement and see how it addresses this situation. Generally you will have to terminate a lawyer before you can hire a new attorney. Many lawyers are hesitant to take over a case that is partially complete because they do not want responsibility for any mistakes which may have been made.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/12/2011
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
You have a right to change your attorney. However, since you have already paid for your case you may want to consider keeping your attorney. One way to find a new attorney is to check the State Bar list of certified bankruptcy specialists.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/11/2011
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
Not many attorneys want to inherit a mess of a case, especially if the client isn't willing to adequately pay to compensate for cleaning up the mess. Best bet in this situation is to keep trying to find a new attorney, be reasonable with expectations as to service and cost, and when you find one that will accept the case, let the old attorney know in writing that his/her services are no longer needed and to withdraw representation.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 7/11/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    You have the right to discharge your current attorney and to hire a new one. Keep calling until you find an office willing to step up and take over the case. Understand that you will have to pay your new counsel for their services. Amounts that you previously paid your old counsel do not do any good for a new attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/11/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    Most attorneys don't want to get in the middle of a case that already appears problematic.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/10/2013
    Benson Law Firm
    Benson Law Firm | David Benson
    You can find a new attorney through the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys: -
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/11/2011
    The Law Office of Brian Nomi
    The Law Office of Brian Nomi | Brian H. Nomi
    Look for a lawyer with a good reputation, who has positive reviews from a number of clients. I for one am shocked to hear this. No good lawyer would do such a thing to a client.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/11/2011
    Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law
    Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law | Eric Benzer
    You need to be honest with yourself as to whether you, in any way, have caused the delay in your case. Bankruptcy petitions MUST be exact and accurately completed. Having said the above, go online or word of mouth are two excellent means of finding a new attorney...also calling your local Bar Association and ask for a recommendation...or call me.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 7/11/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    As a general rule, it is very difficult to change lawyers in mid-case. A new lawyer can't do anything in the case until and unless you discharge your existing lawyer. Bear in mind changing lawyers may increase rather than decrease your fees.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/11/2011
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