Can I Change Lawyers In A Bankruptcy Case?

by Douglas Jacobs, Esq.

January 27, 2008

It happens: you’ve hired an attorney to file for bankruptcy for you and somewhere along the line, either before or after the filing, he or she seems to be dropping the ball.  Can you change attorneys?  Absolutely!

But that’s not the end of the story.  To change, find a new attorney willing to take over.  Make sure you sign a fee agreement with him or her and then the substitution of attorneys form.  Your new attorney should be able to get the previous lawyer to sign it and then submit it to the court.

Do not fire the first attorney until you’ve found another one to take over.  Sure, you can “go it alone,” but the complexities of the current bankruptcy laws are such that you can do a lot of damage to your case and property if not properly represented. 

My advice is to fully disclose to the new attorney every reason you are unhappy with the original lawyer.  You may find out that what you are dissatisfied with is the law, the judge or the trustee and there’s nothing that can be done about it anyway.

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Douglas Jacobs is a California bankruptcy attorney and partner in the Chico law firm of Jacobs, Anderson, Potter & Chaplin. Since 1988, Mr. Jacobs has taught Constitutional law and Debtor-Creditor/Bankruptcy law at the Cal Northern School of Law. He has served as Dean of Students since 1994. He is a frequent lecturer on the subject of consumer bankruptcy law, and has spoken at both state and national levels.

Last modified: January 27, 2008