Firing and Replacing Your Bankruptcy Lawyer

Look for these red flags that could indicate it's time to fire and replace your bankruptcy lawyer.

By , J.D. · California Western School of Law

If your bankruptcy attorney isn't providing you with competent representation, it might be time for a new lawyer. Read on to learn more about the red flags that could indicate it's time to replace your attorney.

Firing Your Bankruptcy Lawyer

One of the most common complaints clients have about their attorney is that he or she does not return phone calls or emails promptly. While lack of communication alone is typically not a reason to fire your attorney, it might be an indicator of more significant problems. Let your attorney know you're unhappy. Most lawyers will try to understand and meet your expectations. But if your attorney doesn't have the level of competence required to handle your case, then it is time to fire your bankruptcy lawyer.

Signs You Need to Replace Your Bankruptcy Lawyer

If your attorney's performance is such that your case is suffering, look for these red flags. If they exist, it might be time to replace your attorney.

Your Attorney Doesn't Return Your Calls or Emails

Attorneys are typically busy people. But answering your questions is part of their job. If your attorney repeatedly fails to return your calls or emails and keeps you in the dark about your case, you may be dealing with an incompetent attorney.

Your Attorney Doesn't Have the Skills to Handle Your Case

Bankruptcy is a specialized area of the law. For example, even a lawyer who regularly handles Chapter 7 bankruptcies might not possess the knowledge and skills necessary for a Chapter 13 matter. Every attorney must represent clients with competency. If your attorney cannot handle your case, you need a new attorney.

Learn about the differences between Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy.

Your Attorney Doesn't Advise You of Your Rights and Responsibilities

The purpose of hiring an attorney is to take the mystery out of the bankruptcy process and make sure that your case proceeds smoothly. It is your attorney's job to inform you of everything that you must do throughout the process. Failure to do so could indicate a lack of knowledge and competence.

Your Attorney Misses Meetings or Hearings

If your attorney does not show up for scheduled appointments or bankruptcy hearings, it is a big red flag. Failure to appear at bankruptcy hearings can cause unnecessary delays or result in dismissal of your case. An attorney who can't make it to your appointment or hearing should send another attorney to meet with you or appear in court.

Your Attorney Misses a Deadline

Bankruptcy filers must meet multiple deadlines after filing a case. These deadlines apply to:

It is the attorney's job to know the deadlines and make sure that they are satisfied. If your attorney fails to meet all required deadlines, your case could get dismissed or suffer other adverse consequences.

Choose Your Bankruptcy Attorney Carefully

Firing your attorney in the middle of your bankruptcy can result in delays and additional fees, and it should be a last resort. If you must replace your bankruptcy lawyer, make sure to choose a bankruptcy attorney who can substitute in and handle your case effectively. When meeting with potential attorneys, give as much information about your case as you can and question the attorneys about their experience in handling similar cases.

Learn about finding a bankruptcy lawyer.

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