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File bankruptcy first, then hire an attorney

Tehachapi, CA |

I feel I need to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy, I have already talked with a bankruptcy attorney, however I can not afford the retainer just yet. Time is of the essence for me. I can pay the filing fee to the court. Can I file and then hire the attorney in a month or so to take over the case. I know in other law a simple substitution of attorney is all that is required, is it the same for Bankruptcy law?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

It will be much harder for you to hire an attorney AFTER you file a Chapter 13.

In addition, if you file first and then retain an attorney you have lost the advantage of having an attorney prepare your schedules -- probably the single most important advantage. Have you personally consulted a bankruptcy attorney?

If not, you should. In most situations an attorney can make the fee affordable because a portion can be made payable through the Plan.

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Asker

Posted

I have contacted an attorney. He said he would file for me for $1,000 as a retainer with the remainder paid through the bankruptcy. I just sent him an email, basically asking him the same question I did here, just included a few more details. Thank you for the response.

Michael Raymond Daymude

Michael Raymond Daymude

Posted

That's a deal. You need to find a way to afford counsel. I was charitable when I said you would find it more difficult to obtain counsel after -- it will be a virtual impossibility for the reasons the other attorneys have stated.

Posted

An attorney you hire after filing can't be paid until the plan is confirmed. I know I don't like to step into a case on those terms, plus you will certainly make a mess of the papers you file, such that it will be more work for the attorney than it would have been if he had prepared the papers from the beginning.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you for your response.

Posted

No attorney will take your case post filing, period. Sorry to say that but it is the truth. There are several reasons for this. The main ones are the attorney will have to most likely redo all the paperwork and there will be a significant issue of that attorney getting paid. If you do this alone you will remain alone. Good luck to you.
Robert Driessen

Mr. Driessen is a former Deputy DA in Orange County with over 8 years of criminal law experience. Nothing stated on this site shall in anyway be construed as legal advice, or as creating any attorney client relationship. If you would like to hire Mr. Driessen, feel free to contact him at www.theocduiguy.com.

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Kathryn Ursula Tokarska

Kathryn Ursula Tokarska

Posted

I wouldn't say "No attorney" will take your case, but it's going to be really super hard to find one that will. The attorney would have to be willing to perform all the work for free upfront anyway and hope to get paid later after confirmation, which can take a few months. Anyway, fixing a chapter 13 is much harder than filing it right the first time. So you want someone to work upfront for free and do more work they would have if they take a client who walks in and has them do it right the first time. Yes, maybe not no attorney, but it will be hard. I've taken one case like this and only because the client had hired an attorney, but the work he did was absolutely terrible and getting the case dismissed and starting over was going to be a problem too with automatic stay, since this wasn't the first case he botched up on her. Anyway, I took it because I felt great pity for this person, but it was a challenge and I had to wait 6 months to get paid.

Posted

First of all, kudos for recognizing that you need an attorney. While you are allowed to file without an attorney, the success rate in Chapter 13 debtors without a bankruptcy lawyer is under 5%. Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases are challenging, and a big part of where an attorney's skill and experience comes in is analyzing the budget and preparing the Chapter 13 plan.

Now, short answer to your question: yes, all that's needed is a simple substitution or attorney.

However, because all the heavy lifting is in the preparation of the prepetition documents and the many documents required just after filing, what you're suggesting is that you line up the bow-and-arrow, fire the arrow, and then hand the bow to a lawyer who will need to deal with the aftermath and not see payment for many months.

While you may find someone willing to take your handoff, be liable for your work, and work a lot more doing amendments for free for a while in the challenging world of Chapter 13, always be mindful of the maxim: "you get what you pay for."

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