What happens if we cant be represented in court for a bankruptcy file? 16 Answers as of August 01, 2011

We received a letter on Saturday, that our Chapter 13 lawyer will not be able to represent us anymore. He advised us to get new counsel. We don't have anymore money to get another lawyer. We were trying to get an appointment to appraise our house to get rid of the 2nd on our house. Now we don't know what to do. We already have a court date on Sep. 02,2011, which we will show up to, but with out a lawyer. Do we still get the appraisal, and show up to court? We need help.

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Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Ouch,,, yes show up. Why can't the lawyer represent you? . If it was something you did (or refuse to do) you better reconsider your position. If it some problem on his part, he has to give you back at least some of the money you paid him.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/1/2011
Breckenridge and Walton
Breckenridge and Walton | Alan D. Walton
Obviously, you did not follow through with your lawyer, the court agreed, and the court released your lawyer. There are not too many lawyers who will try to assist you now, since you have proven you are not reliable. It may cost you more money, but this time you should cooperate with the requirements of the bankruptcy law.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/29/2011
Cartwright Law Firm
Cartwright Law Firm | Andrea Cartwight
Unfortunately, it sounds like there has been a breakdown of the attorney/client relationship. However, an attorney can not just withdraw as your counsel without your consent or by filing a motion to withdraw with the bankruptcy court and getting approval. The attorney must continue to represent you until he has obtained an Order allowing him to withdraw from the court. If your attorney does not wish to represent you any further then it would be in your best interest to retain another attorney as soon as possible. In a Chapter 13, most attorneys will seek payment of their attorney fees through the Chapter 13 Plan. This generally means that you can retain counsel with no to very little money down. Fortunately, you have time to obtain a new attorney. It is important to get new counsel immediately so she/he can properly advise you concerning stripping the 2nd mortgage from your property and to address any other outstanding issues or objections. Depending on the district you are in, the court may require a formal appraisal of your home. However, in most cases getting a market analysis from a local realtor is generally sufficient and is free or very inexpensive.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/27/2011
Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
Yes I would show up even if your attorney does not come. It is pretty bad form for your attorney to just say he quits and to find another attorney. I think the judge will think differently when you attend your hearing.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/27/2011
Carballo Law Offices
Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
That is really tough situation since most lawyers don't want to get involved in cases already filed. You do not mention the reason the lawyer will not represent you anymore. Was it because he/she was suspended or disbarred? or was it because of a dispute with you? A lawyer cannot just stop representing a client in a court case without your written consent or a court order. In Chapter 13 most of the attorneys' fees are paid through the plan payments. There are lawyers who will accept a Chapter 13 cases with little or no payment before filing with all or almost all of their fees to be paid through the Plan payments. You definitely need to find a new lawyer and appear at the hearing unless you are able to hire another lawyer before the hearing date and that lawyer tells you not to go. If you cannot find another lawyer then go to the hearing and tell the judge what happened and most likely the court will continue your case and give you more time if you were diligent in trying to find another lawyer before the hearing. There are organizations of lawyers that may be able to provide you with a referral to a lawyer that will help you, particularly if the fact that your lawyer is no longer able to represent you is not your fault. You should contact the bar association of the County where you live for assistance if you are unable to find a lawyer on your own. Good luck...
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/26/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    You need to find another attorney. Perhaps one can take over and be paid from the monthly payments you're already making to the Chapter 13 Trustee. I don't have enough information to know how or if that would work, but you need to try. If not, then you can represent yourself but you need to know what you're doing....
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    An attorney cannot unilaterally withdraw from representation. You can insist that he or she seek permission from the court. In the meantime you should insist on being able to look to the attorney for advice in your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    You will need to find another lawyer or check with your local legal aid department to see if they can help.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
    Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
    You will probably need to have an experienced bankruptcy attorney help you with the lien strip motion. You may need to borrow money from a relative or friend (if that is possible) to help you do this.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Lawyers cannot just quit your case absent a motion and order from the judge (or your consent). If the attorney has done this without such approval, file a complaint with the state bar and your trustee (and seek new counsel).
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    Did he give a reason? We're not allowed to bail on you when it puts you at a disadvantage, and we usually have to file a motion to withdraw. Did he already take.his full fee? Does he plan to refund you? You need answers. You need to show up, but try to get some answers from him, and perhaps file a motion in court against him leaving like this, and ask that hebe required to represent you or refund your fees. If you know who was going to do tje appraisal, it might be a good idea to have it done, but I don't think you can handle the balance of that process alone. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    The attorney cannot just decide to quit. The attorney has to either file a motion with the court to withdraw as your attorney or you have to sign a substitution to agree to let him withdraw. How much have you paid the attorney so far? If you paid him only some of the fee, another attorney may take over and be paid his or her fee by the Chapter 13 trustee. If you paid him all of the fee and he does not do all of the work, he is not entitled to the entire amount and should refund money to you. If you have not signed a substitution and he either refuses to appear (other than because he not presently able to practice law) or if you have paid most or all of the fees, I would contact the Office Of The United States Trustee in your bankruptcy district and tell them what is transpiring.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    You may be able to find an attorney who will represent you and accept their fees through the plan. This would avoid an up front cost. However, it would be important to know why your counsel has dropped the representation and what the lawyer expects to do with any moneyhe or shehas already collected from you.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    If the case has been filed, you definitely want to make sure that the trustee understands you are without counsel and wish to proceed in the plan; so, you should still get the appraisal and attend the hearing. You may not need any money to acquire a new attorney because many attorneys will accept being paid through the plan and could be retained and file a proof of claim with the court to be paid that way. You should call a bankruptcy attorney to see if you can find one who will do that.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law | Christiaan van Niekerk
    The court will make the lawyer show up.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/25/2011
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