Should I fire my bankruptcy attorney and get another before the 341 meeting scheduled with creditors? 16 Answers as of November 14, 2014

I am very unhappy with the level of assistance and communication of my current bankruptcy lawyer. We have filed ch-13 Bankruptcy. A week went by with no communication. His paralegal says they sent me an e-mail. We never received it at all, until she called my on the phone and then resent it. (This e-mail was to give more documents/more financial info. - (that took me a lot of time to find and then provide). Basically he informed me today, that because we have missed the deadline to file our schedule, that our bankruptcy is now subject to dismissal. He has tried to rush me through a 46 page schedule draft, which I refuse to be rushed - (this is our financial life for the next 5 years). No sit down meeting to discuss how ch-13 bankruptcy would proceed and what to expect. He and his staff have been cold and assume we understand everything (which we don't). I have been stressed out beyond belief. So should I get another lawyer, even though I know it will cost us more - before this 341 meeting?

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You could dismiss the Ch 13 case at anytime and go to another bankruptcy attorney.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 11/14/2014
R. Steven Chambers PLLC | R. Steven Chambers PLLC
Only you can answer that question. It sounds like you are not satisfied with the level of service you are receiving. If this was a restaurant and you were this unhappy with the service would you continue eating there? Your question presents one of the issues with low cost bankruptcy attorneys. Part of the higher fees you might pay to someone else go toward the attorney's time spent answering your questions and helping you understand the process. In other words, you get what you pay for.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 11/14/2014
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
You have an absolute right to be happy with your lawyer. I charge a little more then younger, less experienced attorneys, but we do a very detailed sit down and review with our clients so there are no mistakes. My initial consultation takes at least an hour - I explain everything. At the review and sign, we do a three page checklist with the client so there are no misunderstandings (this takes one to two hours). We also go through a list of questions to be asked at the Creditors' Meeting by the Trustee. I meet my clients one hour before the Creditors' Meeting to go over everything one last time. This is time consuming and takes extra effort. But I have successfully filed thousand of bankruptcies. There are a lot of good attorneys out there - you just need to find the right one.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 11/14/2014
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
Since Chapter 13 means that you'll have a relationship with your attorney for the next five years, I'd recommend that you find a new attorney that is more responsive to your needs. It might not cost you anything, by failing to communicate with you (it's obviously BS that an email was sent that you didn't receive, there is no such thing as a lost email), didn't get your schedules filed on time and didn't fully and completely explain the schedules he wanted you to sign and didn't explain what will happen in a Chapter 13 - he's violated the requirements of a bankruptcy attorney. I recommend that you tell him that you're going to get a new attorney and demand that he refund everything that he paid you. When you ask for a refund, tell him that if you don't have your money back today, you'll file a complaint with the US Trustee's office. The US Trustee's office is responsible for policing bankruptcy attorneys and he knows (or at least every competent attorney knows) that he's screwed this up and the US Trustee will force him to repay your fees and possibly cause him additional problems.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 11/13/2014
Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
It sounds like your lawyer client relationship is too sour for you to continue. I suggest you do find another lawyer promptly.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 11/13/2014
    Michael J. Duggar, P.A.
    Michael J. Duggar, P.A. | Michael J. Duggar
    Sorry for the unfortunate situation you are experiencing. The beauty of the bankruptcy and why I fell privileged to practice in this area is that almost nothing is set in stone as to your schedules. Let the schedules be filed and if they are in error, the attorney can amend the schedules to reflect accurately your financial situation, and you can live happily ever after. Do your best to make the Chapter 13 Plan payments on time and provide the documents that your Trustee is requiring you to provide, and you will do fine despite the communication problems you experienced.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/13/2014
    Garner Law Office
    Garner Law Office | Daniel Garner
    I would recommend letting your current case be dismissed, or voluntarily dismissing it, because if another attorney stepped in at this point, it is very likely that your original attorney would collect his fee through the plan, requiring the new attorney to wait a long time to get paid. That is not a great incentive for someone else to take your case. If you start over, the first attorney would have to file a claim in your next case and would only get what your other unsecured creditors would get in your plan.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/12/2014
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    A Chapter 13 will live a lot longer than many marriages, and the fact that the attorney is not meeting your expectations this early in the game indicates that things will only get worse. Frankly, I suspect that you expect more than most bankruptcy attorneys are able to provide and still offer a reasonable fee, but that is beside the point.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/12/2014
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    If you are not happy with your attorney you should get one that understands your needs for the next five years.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/12/2014
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    You should consider hiring a new bankruptcy attorney. You need to be comfortable with your attorney who will take the time to explain everything to you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/12/2014
    Marc S. Stern
    Marc S. Stern | Marc S. Stern
    If you are unhappy with your lawyer and not communicating, it is time to get a new one. Make sure, however that the problem is not your unrealistic expectations. Changing lawyers in the middle of a case is time consuming and difficult. It is better to do so before the ? 341 hearing than after. Positions can get set and impressions made that are difficult if not impossible to correct later.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/12/2014
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    You can get another lawyer. I personally will not file a case until I have all the paper work I need.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/12/2014
    D.J. Rausa, Attorney at Law | D.J. Rausa
    If you are unhappy with your present attorney, then get a new one immediately. It may not cost you any further fees because fees in a Chapter 13 case have to be approved by the Judge. If there is substandard work, then the attorneys fees may be disgorged.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/12/2014 | Rustin Polk
    You are allowed to switch lawyers whenever you feel like it. Whether you SHOULD fire your attorney or not is never a clear-cut yes-or-no question. In figuring out whether you want to do that or not, don't focus on what they did or didn't do up to this point. Instead, ask yourself what else you think they should have done, or what you think you've paid them to do but that they haven't done. Then once you know VERY SPECIFICALLY what it is you think they were supposed to do but didn't, ask yourself whether the next lawyer is going to do those specific things or not.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/12/2014
    Law Office of Andrew Oostdyk
    Law Office of Andrew Oostdyk | Andrew Oostdyk
    If you are not satisfied with the service you are receiving from your attorney, it would be best for your new attorney to enter the case as soon as possible and preferably before the 341 Meeting of Creditors. Your current attorney sounds as if they are part of a high-volume bankruptcy firm that due to their large docket may not have the time or resources to guide you through the process. A smaller firm or solo attorneys will likely meet your needs as they tend to have more direct contact with their clients and are able to address their concerns.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/12/2014
    Law Office of Barry R. Levine | Barry R. Levine, Esq.
    Sounds like something to consider.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 11/12/2014
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