Q: What is the maximum amount an attorney can legally charge a client for a chapter 13 bankruptcy in the state of NH?
A: Attorneys fees in Chapter 13 are subject to local court rules. Attorneys may charge anything in accordance with the contract with the debtor/client but if the fee exceeds the "no look" amount of a maximum of $4,500, then the attorney must file an application with the court to have the fee approved. The court will grant or deny the application based on all of the circumstances. No fee application is required if the total of the fee received is $4,500 or less. But anything over requires an approval order. I personally have seen fees approved in some case in the tens of thousands of dollars, although such cases are very rare.
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Your question cannot be answered by simply stating a number. The rule on attorney compensation in chapter 13 cases in NH is:
AO 2016-1 Fee and Expense Guidelines
(a) Fees in Chapter 13 Cases.
(1) Unless the court orders otherwise, debtor’s counsel does not need to file a fee application, and the disclosure set forth in the Bankruptcy Rule 2016 statement will be sufficient for the court to allow debtor’s counsel’s fees if the total fee does not exceed $4,500.
(2) If the prepetition retainer is $4,500 or less, the chapter 13 plan may provide that the difference between the prepetition retainer and $4,500 be paid during the first twelve (12) months of the chapter 13 plan as an administrative expense.
(part (b) regarding expenses is omitted)
So the maximum without further review of the court is $4,500. If it is justified, the court will approve reasonable fees in excess of that maximum. You should be certain to explore all of the possibilities in your case with your attorney so there are no surprises regarding fees.
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