William James Waters
William James Waters, Bankruptcy Attorney - Simi Valley, CA
Posted almost 2 years ago.

I believe it is #5c, but yes, in the few situations where it has been agreed up front that I would not appear with the client at the 341(a), then I have also lined-out #5c on the Disclosure of Compensation form. Also, unless it is anticipated from the beginning and referenced in the fee agreement, I line out #5d as well (re representation in adversary proceedings, etc.). That helps keep the base fee down for a basic case. If the need for representation in an adversary proceeding or other contested matter comes up later, then a separate fee is charged at that time. That is also spelled out ahead of time in the written fee agreement.

Brian Crozier Whitaker
Brian Crozier Whitaker, Bankruptcy Attorney - San Diego, CA
Posted almost 2 years ago.

While I agree with the concept of unbundling legal services, based on an opinion from Judge Hargrove some years ago it is not permitted here in the Southern District. Any attorney who prepares the Petition & Schedules can expect a call from the US Trustee if he/she does not appear at the 341(a).

William James Waters
William James Waters, Bankruptcy Attorney - Simi Valley, CA
Posted almost 2 years ago.

I guess this is another of those situations where "it depends" on the court and the judge. I have never had an issue with doing it, and I have been at many 341(a)'s where the debtor was solo and the Trustee would only ask if they were expecting their attorney and if they say "no" the only follow-up question has been "did you pay them to be here?" If the response is no, that it was agreed the attorney wouldn't appear, the Trustee just moves on with the examination and the issue ends there. That isn't unique to just one or two of the Trustees either. I have witnessed the same scenario over and over with all of the Central District trustees.