“I recently hired an attorney to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy. I was told up front that the bankruptcy would not be final until all fees were paid. However, I was under the impression that in the meantime something would be done to prevent further legal action from being taken against me. Specifically, I am being sued under an uninsured motorist law that says unless I pay a $10,000 deposit I will loose my drivers license. My attorney says that he won’t do anything until all fees are paid in full. I have paid him $700.00 of a $1300 total. Is this reasonable normal practice? I also told him that I wanted and assumed that my credit report(s) would be used to make sure all creditors were notified of my filing and that nothing was missed. He proceeded to say that he didn’t look at credit reports and only looked at current court filings to compile my list of creditors. How can he assure me that something isn’t overlooked? My credit report is the first thing that will be looked at in any future dealings. Is it negligent of him to dismiss utilizing it? Are my expectations unreasonable? I just feel like I’m not receiving adequate service from him. What do you think?”
It is reasonable for an attorney, particularly a bankruptcy attorney, to request and expect full payment before performing services for someone who may otherwise not (be able to) pay them.
As to what is considered acceptable – versus, say, negligent – practice in terms of due diligence when determining existing creditors, you would be best served by having a consultation with another bankruptcy attorney in your area. The bottom line is that the attorney relies on the client (you) to make sure that all creditors are listed, and it is your responsibility to list all of them.