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Attorney cost?

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  • Attorney cost?

    Alright, I have actually spoken to my first attorney. Well, to some guy who called after I filled out a contact form on his web site, anyway.

    The person I spoke to said it would be $800 for the attorney, and $299 court costs. Does this sound average? High? Too low?

    He said they would want $400 as what I assume is the retainer. The email I received after we spoke says:



    Standard stuff?
    Filed 5/31/11 341 & Report of No Distribution 7/28/11 Discharged & Closed!! 9/29/11
    "What I won't accept or buy any longer is that my credit score defines who I am. Screw that."

  • #2
    It sounds a lot like the firm is planning to do everything from afar, with little consultation with you during the process. If that's okay with you, then go for it!

    The price seems a little low to me. Prices in my area range from $1,000-$1,500 for a no-asset consumer 7, and only the bankruptcy mills tend to charge lower than that.

    Comment


    • #3
      Doesn't sound like an actual firm. 800 is a bit on the low side. Expect 1400 or so.
      Filed: 6-7-2010 341: 7-15-2010 DISCHARGED: 9/17/2010

      Comment


      • #4
        The first attorney we talked to said $675 and up - hated him though.

        The guy I talked to today said $2000 flat fee plus $350 filing fee. I really liked him and felt comfortable with him though.
        04/01/10 - Hit rock bottom and knew we were going to have to file for bankruptcy and surrender our home. 12/14/10 - Filed Chapter 7, 02/09/11 - 341 Hearing, 04/14/11 -

        Comment


        • #5
          We paid $1200 including both courses. I had a quote for $1800 from another attorney, still probably reasonable but I didn't like her.
          attorney consult and decided to file, 02/15/2010
          no-asset Chapter 7 filed, 03/11/2010
          341, 05/10/2010
          discharged, 07/13/2010

          Comment


          • #6
            Hm. This is a pretty small, rural area. I am waiting to talk to at least a couple other attorneys to find out what their fees are before I go with this guy. I wonder if his fees are typical for here.

            Avvo.com says he is 100% bankruptcy practice. It also says:

            This lawyer has been cited for professional misconduct by a state disciplinary authority.

            State Citation type Year cited Last updated by Avvo
            Oregon Reprimand 2009 12/07/2009

            So that certainly puts me off a little! I am trying to find out exactly what happened. Is it necessarily a bad thing?

            The one BK lawyer in town was reprimanded in 1998 and suspended in 2007! I saw that and immediately decided he was not in the running. I would assume he's been reinstated - or else he's practicing illegally.
            Filed 5/31/11 341 & Report of No Distribution 7/28/11 Discharged & Closed!! 9/29/11
            "What I won't accept or buy any longer is that my credit score defines who I am. Screw that."

            Comment


            • #7
              If you re-read what you posted, part 3 indicates they'll set the fee based on your case/circumstances. Which is to be expected since complicated cases involve more work and so attorneys charge more. Could the figures he gave you be the minimums? It seems like a very low amount.
              Get mortgage modified: DONE! 7 months of back interest payments amortized, payment reduced over $200/mo
              (In the 'planning' stage, to file ch. 13 if/when we have to.)

              Comment


              • #8
                I see what you're saying there. That was quoted to me after the guy who called asked me questions - debt amount, income, filing single, etc. Wonder if he based it off my answers to that.

                I suppose that if I send the questionnaire in and he sends back the agreement, I don't *have* to go with him, right?
                Filed 5/31/11 341 & Report of No Distribution 7/28/11 Discharged & Closed!! 9/29/11
                "What I won't accept or buy any longer is that my credit score defines who I am. Screw that."

                Comment


                • #9
                  This sounds like a glorified document prep service. Aside from the attorney signature, it is unlikely any attorney will spend more than 10 minutes on the case and you will have some attorney you never met show up at the trustee meeting. From that perspective, what you are paying is high relative to the value received. Fees vary wildly across the country and too many attorneys compete with each other on price, which means they have no choice but to limit service.

                  Think of it like this, you can buy a sirloin steak at Applebee's and pay $10, or you can pay $35 for a sirloin steak at Morton's Steak House. They are both steaks, but they are NOT THE SAME THING.

                  Most "real" BK attorneys will be north of $2,000.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    NewPage, you may want to try going a further from home to find a good BK attorney without a record of disciplinary action.

                    You can search an attorney's name to find out if they are currently active and whether they have past diciplinary action at http://www.osbar.org/members/start.asp?e=3

                    I don't know how much info that search will give regarding any diciplinary action. But, if it includes the date, you can look up the details at http://www.osbar.org/publications/db.../dbreport.html
                    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


                    • #11
                      This is about what I paid. However with only 300.00 retainer. That being said, I used this forum and I was checking every aspect of the filing. I met with the attorney a different one was at the 341. I found some mistakes by them monitoring my case through PACER. I was a simple CH7 No asset. I received what I paid for. If you use such a firm make sure you have an email address of the attorney and legal aid. The only thing I regret is that they took too long on my case and it should have been over quicker. Everytime PACER showed something I would email them to ask them about it. I wanted them to know I was watching every step of my case.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LadyInTheRed View Post
                        NewPage, you may want to try going a further from home to find a good BK attorney without a record of disciplinary action.

                        You can search an attorney's name to find out if they are currently active and whether they have past diciplinary action at http://www.osbar.org/members/start.asp?e=3

                        I don't know how much info that search will give regarding any diciplinary action. But, if it includes the date, you can look up the details at http://www.osbar.org/publications/db.../dbreport.html
                        Oh, *excellent* links there, especially the second one. I was poking around the bar site last night trying to find that info, but could not. Thank you!! I'm looking up this attorney's disciplinary action right now.
                        Filed 5/31/11 341 & Report of No Distribution 7/28/11 Discharged & Closed!! 9/29/11
                        "What I won't accept or buy any longer is that my credit score defines who I am. Screw that."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Okay, the guy whose office I spoke to yesterday was reprimanded late last year for this situation:



                          Would that make you stay away from him? I did have another lawyer email today saying I could call for a free consultation appt. He is licensed in both OR & WA and is about an hour from here. I'm sure his fees would be considerably more, but I know it would be worth it to know he is doing what he's supposed to. Plus he has no disciplinary actions....
                          Filed 5/31/11 341 & Report of No Distribution 7/28/11 Discharged & Closed!! 9/29/11
                          "What I won't accept or buy any longer is that my credit score defines who I am. Screw that."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by NewPage View Post

                            Would that make you stay away from him?
                            It would make me stay away. Not necessarily because of

                            The Accused failed to deposit the funds in his lawyer trust account. He did not have a written fee agreement that provided that the funds paid in advance were earned on receipt and non-refundable
                            In my experience, most attorneys at terrible at running their businesses. They don't like to be bothered with the administrative details. But, if I hired an attorney with a record of dicipline only for the above reason, I would insist on a written fee agreement that specifies, among other things, whether the retainer is non-refundable.

                            I wouldn't hire somebody disciplined for this:

                            The Accused initially failed to file all required documents and thereafter failed to complete the process in a timely manner. During the representation, the Accused failed to keep his client reasonably informed and failed to respond promptly to inquiries concerning the matter. About one and a half years after the Accused was retained, the Accused completed the name change process
                            I know that getting a name change in California is very simple. I suspect it is not much different in Oregon. I wouldn't hire an attorney who takes a year and a half to do it right. I also wouldn't hire one who has a record of not keeping clients informed and not responding promptly to inquiries. It's too basic a part of representing a client to overlook.

                            I suppose it's possible this guy may has improved over the last couple of years, but I wouldn't bet my own bankruptcy case on that. I'd rather drive an hour or two to find somebody without a diciplinary record.

                            While the disciplinary records is a good way to weed out attorneys, don't rely on it as the only factor. Try to consult with 2 or 3 attorneys and choose one who you feel listens to you, explains things clearly and has the necessary knowledge to handle your case.
                            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


                            • #15
                              you know you shouldn't be afraid to offer them a lower fee.

                              If they want 2K, say other firms are asking 1500 if you do it for that I'll retain you.

                              Too many people treat them other than a hired hand.

                              Lawyers go home and tell their wife yes is was slow this week only had 3 new cases. They need money as a biz like anyone else.

                              Comment

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