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How long to give attorneys

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  • How long to give attorneys

    I filed for divorce On January 22nd. They sent me the paperwork that it had been filed January 29th. At my meeting on the 22nd, my attorney who is my divorce attorney and supposed to be working with a bankruptcy attorney in the office, said he'd ask my questions and get back with me. He called me one time when a creditor said they were going to sue me to try and ease my fears about that, but that was on January 23rd. He not only did not get back with me and hasn't responded to email or calls regarding the bankruptcy concerns, but I specifically called and ask for the bankruptcy attorney's number so I could consult with him on my questions regarding legal ramifications of anything I do right now with finances, since we know that I'm filing after the divorce is final in under 60 days. I was a little more specific in asking to talk to that attorney instead of asking my family law attorney the questions. He said he was going to get the answers but hasn't. It's been 7 days since I called. I called again today. I get that they are busy and have court and such, but all he really needs to do is give me a number. He has his money in full for the divorce already. This is very frustrating. I'm worried that he's sitting and charging for every time I make an email or call but not actually responding.

    He didn't give me the name of the bankruptcy attorney he's working with, so I don't know how to get in touch myself. They don't have a main office line, all lines go directly to each attorney. How long should I wait before just showing up at the office? I don't know what else to do. I think giving someone a week to return a call especially after a month of not getting my questions answered as promised is more than fair and I think this is extremely rude on the attorney's part. I chose this attorney based on a recommendation.
    Last edited by stormygate; 02-23-2018, 08:39 AM.

  • #2
    Make an appointment and sit down with this attorney. Sometimes, that's the only way to literally corner an attorney.
    Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
    Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
    Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


    I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by justbroke View Post
      Make an appointment and sit down with this attorney. Sometimes, that's the only way to literally corner an attorney.
      That's what I'm trying to do They don't have secretaries. I'm at his mercy to call me back. There's a couple people in their billing office so I can go there and bug them but I wanted to give reasonable time

      Comment


      • #4
        Sometimes folks like this join my every hour on the hour club. Or friends call from a different phone number, and would really like to know the timeframe for you.

        Cases do sometimes run very slow. Sometimes, especially now, the lawyer gets the flu. 15 days for a response is more than reasonable, so try calling Saturday, as you never know, then at the first through 15th minute of opening time Monday, repeat Tuesday, and don’t leave more than a message a day. Wednesday start the every hour club, Friday the every half hour club. I would start with their billing office Monday, as they can say what, if anything, might have delayed a response.

        And sometimes a call from the State Bar gets you your money back so you can find someone who will respond and watch out for your best interests.

        I ask for timeframes as I communicate with those I’ve hired or need to work with. “When should I expect a response and when should I contact you if I haven’t heard back?” That way, both parties have expectations set and I am not unreasonable nor is the person working for me.

        Comment


        • #5
          According to another post, stormygate has not retained a bankruptcy attorney. Her divorce attorney works with a bankruptcy attorney who she is trying to get answers from. There is no justification at this point to get the State Bar involved.

          While attorneys really should respond within 7 days, it is not unusual for a busy attorney to not return a call that quickly, especially when they have not yet been retained for the subject of the questions. It sounds like you are waiting for your divorce attorney to get answers from the bankruptcy attorney. So, that could take even longer. You are right to

          I'm worried that he's sitting and charging for every time I make an email or call but not actually responding.
          An attorney should not bill you for an email or voicemail that they don't bother to respond to, unless the nature of the call/email does not require a return call. If they never get back to you, but bill you to read your email that needed a response, you should address that immediately after you receive the bill.

          I would be very reluctant to retain an attorney who doesn't have support staff that you can call if you don't get a response from the attorney. Are you certain there is no central number that you can call? It sounds like you have time to get to know the firm a bit before making a decision about having them represent you for your bankruptcy. In the meantime, I suggest you consult with other bankruptcy attorneys.
          LadyInTheRed is in the black!
          Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
          $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Maria80386 View Post
            Sometimes folks like this join my every hour on the hour club. Or friends call from a different phone number, and would really like to know the timeframe for you.

            Cases do sometimes run very slow. Sometimes, especially now, the lawyer gets the flu. 15 days for a response is more than reasonable, so try calling Saturday, as you never know, then at the first through 15th minute of opening time Monday, repeat Tuesday, and don’t leave more than a message a day. Wednesday start the every hour club, Friday the every half hour club. I would start with their billing office Monday, as they can say what, if anything, might have delayed a response.

            And sometimes a call from the State Bar gets you your money back so you can find someone who will respond and watch out for your best interests.

            I ask for timeframes as I communicate with those I’ve hired or need to work with. “When should I expect a response and when should I contact you if I haven’t heard back?” That way, both parties have expectations set and I am not unreasonable nor is the person working for me.
            Hi Maria, thanks for the input. Folks like this? You mean me?

            I did finally just hear back from him today. I waited a week in between actual calls and as I mentioned, it had been a month since I last heard from him. He was already supposed to get back with me with some bankruptcy answers from the other attorney 3 weeks ago and he didn't follow through. I wouldn't be so rude as to harass someone every hour. I try to give them reasonable time to contact me. That's why I waited a week from my last call. For one, I work in a medical billing office and I know exactly what it's like to have a lot of cases going on. However, I also realize we work for the patients and I make them priority as soon as I possibly can. I also give patients timeframes when I have to get answers before calling them back for the same reason you mentioned so they have reasonable expectation. I'm fully aware that attorneys sometimes have cases taking precedence at the moment and they spend time in court.

            My first appointment the attorney was an hour late because of an unexpected court appearance, and I was fine with it. He had someone call me. As I mentioned, all I really needed was a phone number and name so I could get in touch with the other attorney. Part of the issue turns out to be that he wants to work the case with the other attorney as a learning opportunity because he's just getting into bankruptcy and right now does just family law. He came to realize why this is so important to me now, as we are staring that 90 day mark down the throat and I need to know what things to do and not do over the next 90 days. He was really nice about it and so was I.

            Fortunately the people in this forum have been very helpful with a lot of it, but some things are really specific to my case so I still need to meet with the attorney on that. But it's good that I've been able to talk with financial counselors and people in these forums. It's helped me compile a better question list than I had initially.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by stormygate View Post

              Part of the issue turns out to be that he wants to work the case with the other attorney as a learning opportunity because he's just getting into bankruptcy and right now does just family law. He came to realize why this is so important to me now, as we are staring that 90 day mark down the throat and I need to know what things to do and not do over the next 90 days. He was really nice about it and so was I.
              This is crazy. Retain a bankruptcy attorney. One month to return your call and he’s using you as a “learning opportunity”? No.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by newlife13 View Post

                This is crazy. Retain a bankruptcy attorney. One month to return your call and he’s using you as a “learning opportunity”? No.
                It's actually very routine for an inexperienced attorney to do the work under a more experienced attorney's supervision. Sometimes it is even a very experienced paralegal helping the less experienced attorney under the experienced attorney's supervision. That is how attorneys learn to practice law. It's just not always made clear to the client that is what is going on. While I agree the delay should give stormygate pause, if she is satisfied with the explanation and comfortable with the law firm, the fact that an inexperienced attorney is teaming up with an experienced one is not in itself a reason to go elsewhere. But, it wouldn't hurt to consult with another BK attorney or two before making a final decision.
                LadyInTheRed is in the black!
                Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
                $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by LadyInTheRed View Post

                  It's actually very routine for an inexperienced attorney to do the work under a more experienced attorney's supervision. Sometimes it is even a very experienced paralegal helping the less experienced attorney under the experienced attorney's supervision. That is how attorneys learn to practice law. It's just not always made clear to the client that is what is going on. While I agree the delay should give stormygate pause, if she is satisfied with the explanation and comfortable with the law firm, the fact that an inexperienced attorney is teaming up with an experienced one is not in itself a reason to go elsewhere. But, it wouldn't hurt to consult with another BK attorney or two before making a final decision.
                  Thank you for the input. I've never had an attorney for anything before so I am unsure what is typical. This is an unusual circumstance. I've contacted several attorneys before hiring this office on a referral. I've found it pretty uncommon in my area to have an office that does both bankruptcy and family law, and my attorney is trying to become well versed in both which I can respect. I really like my attorney when I speak with him, but he's not fabulous at returning messages that he receives outside of when he's in the office I found. He did call me back while he was in the office and said he'd call me Monday (yesterday), which he didn't, to get an appointment set up. I wound up calling Tuesday afternoon after not hearing from him. The bankruptcy attorney either has a secretary or he had a billing office person call to set up an appointment right away. Both the bankruptcy attorney and my family law attorney will be sitting in on it. I guess he just does better with phonecalls when he's in office, but I've read horror stories of people who have attorneys that never call. While I'm not impressed with him not following up when he says he's going to and I have to kind of do that on my end, I'm hoping in the long run this will be a good experience. I haven't hired and paid the bankruptcy attorney yet from his office, so this will be a consult. I guess having both of them there it will be a good opportunity to ask again about what I should expect timeline and communication wise. I can't pay the bankruptcy attorney retainer until the end of next month which works out because I can't file until after the divorce anyway.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LadyInTheRed View Post

                    It's actually very routine for an inexperienced attorney to do the work under a more experienced attorney's supervision. Sometimes it is even a very experienced paralegal helping the less experienced attorney under the experienced attorney's supervision. That is how attorneys learn to practice law. It's just not always made clear to the client that is what is going on. While I agree the delay should give stormygate pause, if she is satisfied with the explanation and comfortable with the law firm, the fact that an inexperienced attorney is teaming up with an experienced one is not in itself a reason to go elsewhere. But, it wouldn't hurt to consult with another BK attorney or two before making a final decision.
                    Sure. My trust attorney knows my bankruptcy atty and she has done some Chapter 7s and Chapter 13s with his assistance. But there was a fee agreement and clear lines of communications and expectations outlined.

                    I would not be comfortable with this arrangement, as described. Bankruptcy code is complicated and timing usually matters.

                    Comment

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