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Cyndy

Hiring a bankruptcy attorney

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Approximately 3 years ago I paid a bankruptcy attorney to help me file for bankruptcy.  I've delayed completing this process, as I was hoping to find another way to pay my creditors, Home equity loan, etc.  I learned this week from a debt collector that my attorney told them he is no longer my attorney.  He has not called, emailed or sent any kind of written notice to this effect.  Can he do this without refunding me the $1005.00 I paid him?   Is there an expiration date I don't know about. ?

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I don't know if there is an expiration date but having been in the same position as the attorney I can give you an explanation. Having given the attorney the $1005 three years ago I am relative certain that you began telling the creditors and collection agents to "call my bankruptcy attorney." So for the last three years the attorney has been receiving the annoying calls that made you consider bankruptcy in the first place. Your phone, meanwhile, has been blessedly silent. You did not hire the attorney to answer your phone for you. I also assume that for the last three years you have not contacted the attorney. It is fair for the attorney to assume you no longer intend to follow up on the bankruptcy and no longer wish to retain him.

You are entitled to a refund of your deposit minus the charges for answer the phone for you. Whether those charges equal $1,005 or not, I cannot say.

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Can he do this without refunding me the $1005.00 I paid him?

 

He did do it, so it should be obvious that he can do it.  Whether you're entitled to a refund of any or all of the $$ you paid depends on exactly what the lawyer did and the specific terms of your retainer agreement with him.  For example, if the lawyer prepared the petition and schedules and was simply waiting for you to approve filing, then there's no way you're getting anything back.  On the other hand, if you only had a consultation and the lawyer hadn't done any work, you probably are entitled to a refund.

 

 

 

Is there an expiration date I don't know about. ?

 

Obviously, we have no idea what your retainer agreement says.  However, if I had a client who consulted with or retained me for a relatively discrete project (such as filing a Ch. 7 bankruptcy) and I didn't hear from the client for three years, I would assume that the client either no longer wishes to proceed with the project or wishes to proceed with another attorney.  Thus, if someone contacted me and asked if I was "Cyndy's" lawyer, I'd probably say roughly the same thing your lawyer said.

 

One thing I find odd:  If I were in your shoes, instead of running to my computer in search of an explanation from anonymous strangers, I would have called or e-mailed the attorney to say, "he Bob, I just heard from Evil Empire Debt Collection Services, and the person I spoke with said he spoke with you and that you told him you don't represent me.  What's the deal with that, and shouldn't I be getting my $1,005 back?"  Any particular reason you didn't try to contact your attorney first or, if you did, why you didn't tell us how that discussion went so that we might take it into account in our responses?

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