Do people ever Switch Bankruptcy Lawyers? Yes, they do. If you have a bad lawyer, what should you do? There are situations where it makes sense to stay with your bankruptcy lawyer. Of course, there are times when it would be legal suicide not to switch bankruptcy lawyers. This article will help you make sense out of a bad situation.
Lawyers are kind of like shoes. You want “well made,” and a comfortable fit. If you have neither, you may want to switch bankruptcy lawyers. When your case is going smoothly, you can put up with a bad lawyer. When your case is blowing up on you, you need fast help. That’s when it makes the most sense to switch bankruptcy lawyers.
My law firm has handled Los Angeles bankruptcy cases for 34 years. We have interviewed literally hundreds of people who have asked us to take over their case. Based on our observations, the problems boil down to just two major issues. Let’s look at three examples.
Lawyer Number One is a very nice, friendly person. Attentive, likable and returns calls promptly. The only problem is that Lawyer Number One doesn’t know much about bankruptcy. You ask questions, and your lawyer often says, “I don’t know the answer. I’ll try to find out and get back to you.” You know the lawyer won’t get back to you. But, this is probably fine so long as everything in your case appears to be going smoothly. But here’s your problem. Appearances are deceptive. Problems in a bankruptcy case often show up too late to do anything about them. Typical mistakes include filing you in the wrong kind of bankruptcy. Failing to advise you that the trustee will take some of your assets. Failing to list all necessary creditors. Failing to avoid liens. Failing to list assets.
Lawyer Number Two is the exact opposite. Very knowledgeable about bankruptcy law. But does not give you the time of day. Talks in “legal mumbo jumbo.” Doesn’t return calls. Hard to reach. When you do talk to the lawyer, you have a hard time understanding the explanations. The lawyer does not know how to explain legal concepts in simple words. The lawyer charges you extra money for things you thought were included. Everything in your case will probably go well. But you were a nervous wreck until the whole thing was over.
Lawyer Number Three is everyone’s worst case scenario. This lawyer might be the child of Lawyer Number One and Lawyer Number Two. That’s because this lawyer has all the worst traits of each.
When is the best time to switch bankruptcy lawyers?
The best time to avoid an accident is before it happens. The best time to switch bankruptcy lawyers is BEFORE you hire them. If you see undesirable traits before you hire a lawyer, just STOP. Don’t go any further. Look for somebody else. We have written extensively on how to find a bankruptcy lawyer. We won’t go into that here. You should be able to spot problems during the initial consultation.
You can switch bankruptcy lawyers after your case has been filed.
We are often approached by people who want to salvage a bankruptcy case that has gone bad. Often, we can fix what has gone wrong. Sometimes things have gone too far to be reversed. Even when we feel we can help, there are extra costs. You have already paid your original lawyer. To switch bankruptcy lawyers, you are going to have to pay your new lawyer. Fixing a case often means converting your case to a completely different bankruptcy chapter.