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How do I get my money back from a bankruptcy attorney that hasn't filed in over a month?

Holt, MI |
Filed under: Chapter 7 bankruptcy

I hired an attorney for chapter 7 back in Feb 2013. I was told we would be filing in February so I paid her the total fee. It is now the end of March 2013 and she still hasn't filed. I have called her and she is too busy to talk. I have emailed her and I don't get a response. Any suggestions on how to get my money back? What rights do I have? I have already emailed her and told her I no longer want her as my attorney.

Attorney Answers 3


The starting point of any dispute with your attorney is the fee agreement. What does the fee agreement say about cancellation and how it should work.

Note: you didn't mention if you supplied this attorney with all your information to file (e.g. bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns etc.).

When something like this happens, it is usually the result of mis-communication or misunderstanding on one or both sides.

Beyond that, I would suggest first sending a letter cancelling representation and requesting a refund. If the attorney remains unresponsive, then you should contact your state bar association or attorney regulation counsel and file a grievance. The grievance usually doesn't go very far because once the attorney receives the letter from the state bar, they usually swing into action and issue your refund.

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Every time a month elapses, a bankruptcy attorney needs updated paperwork. Your pre-bankruptcy credit counseling certificate is valid for 180 days, then it expires. You do need some way of communicating with your attorney to find out the problem. Write a letter & cc a copy to the local bankruptcy court at the office of the US Trustee. Hope this perspective helps!

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Mr. Berkus nailed the answer to your question. Look at your representation agreement, make sure you provided the information the attorney required to prepare a petition on your behalf and send the lawyer notice you no longer want them to represent you. If you did what you were supposed to do and the lawyer will not reply to your concerns, then contact your state's bar and complain.

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