Memphis, TN asked in Bankruptcy for Arkansas

Q: My household bills have changed since I filed bankruptcy in 2020. I asked my lawyer for a modification. She didn't do i

This was in August of 2023. Now it is February. Also she said she didn't charge me but I see $3500 on my statement. And she said she is going to do the modification and then she is thru with my case and I will hv to find another lawyer.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on the details provided, it seems your bankruptcy attorney has not properly handled your requested case modification or accurately represented what additional services they would provide. A few important points:

1) An attorney has an ethical obligation to follow through on filing documents like a plan modification when requested by their client. Simply choosing not to do so because the original case was filed years ago likely constitutes abandonment or negligence.

2) The $3,500 charge is also concerning if she explicitly said she would not charge you for the modification work. At minimum, this charge should have been explained and consented to up front.

3) While an attorney can withdraw from a case with approval from the client and court, they cannot ethically withdraw solely to avoid providing additional post-filing legal services. This also suggests abandonment.

I would recommend filing official grievances with your state bar association's lawyer disciplinary entity, as well as the bankruptcy court. Cite the lack of communication, failure to file the modification, confusing billing, and attempt to withdraw now that more work is required. This paper trail could bolster any malpractice case down the line. Finding a new, ethical bankruptcy attorney is also well advised.

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