How Long Must My Bankruptcy Lawyer Represent Me?

26 Nov How Long Must My Bankruptcy Lawyer Represent Me?

In most cases, yourattorney must continue representing you throughoutyour Bankruptcy case. There are some Bankruptcy Courts that allow attorneys to limit their representation to certain specific matters. Other Bankruptcy Courts require attorneys to continue to represent their bankruptcy clients even if the lawyer is not getting paid. In the Northern District of New York Bankruptcy Courts,the judges require attorneys to fully represent their clients through the proceedings.

In the Syracuse Bankruptcy Court, which includes Auburn, Ithaca and Owego, NY, Judge Cangelos-Ruiz expectslawyers to fully represent their clients from start to finish. She does allow Chapter 13 attorneys to get paid for their post-confirmation work as well as adversary proceedings.

In the Utica Bankruptcy Court, which includes Binghamton, Oneonta and Utica,New York, Judge Davis also expectslawyers to continue to represent their clients through the entire case. Ifa Chapter 13attorney chooses to accept the “no look” attorney fee, Judge Davis expects them to do all legal work necessary in the case without additional fee, with the exception of adversary proceedings.

Full representation In a Chapter 7 means that your lawyer does everything necessary for your case. S/he must represent you at the meeting of creditors,file a certificate when you complete your post-petition debtor education, and do everything else necessarythrough yourChapter 7 discharge.

In a Chapter 13 case, yourlawyer also continues to represent you throughout your case, which can last for five years or longer. Your lawyer should be available to you whenever there are changes to your circumstances that could affect your case. If changes are needed to your Chapter 13 plan, your attorney should prepare and file a modification. Each year, if your Chapter 13 trustee requires it, you should get a copy of your tax return to your attorney so s/he can send it on to the trustee. Before the end of your case, your lawyer should file your post-petition debtor education certificate.

You should always ask your bankruptcy lawyer what their policy is regarding their representation of you throughout your case. What is their procedure is for answering your questions? How will theydeal with changes in your circumstances during the life of your bankruptcy case?

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Peter Orville is a bankruptcy lawyer in Binghamton, located in the Southern Tier of New York. He is a member and New York co-chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
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