Yes, it is a bad sign if you can’t speak to or meet with your attorney about your bankruptcy!

guy on phoneI have heard the horror stories in my office.  In another district in California someone told me this horror story.  She did a bankruptcy with an attorney or so she thought.  She met with the paralegals and secretaries and the case progressed but she had some legal questions she need to ask at one point.  She had not met with he attorney yet but she anticipated no problem.  Who could object to speaking to their client she thought.  Even if it was on the phone.

When she called the legal assistants and asked if she could speak to the attorney they told her that it would be no problem as long as she paid $200 per hour to do so.  I never saw her fee agreement but I can’t imagine how that could be okay anywhere.  If you hire an attorney you obviously want to speak to him or her.  It is okay to talk to some legal assistants but at some point you will want to meet with and speak to the attorney.

Not so in that case and this client did not pay the $200 and did not meet the attorney until the 341 hearing and was never able to speak to him about the legal ramifications of filing bankruptcy.  I would ask why have an attorney at all?  If this is the level of service then why not have a legal assistant do it or do it yourself?

I have heard of many other stories of not being able to speak to an attorney.  The attorney only communicates through e-mails or rarely returns call or just continually puts clients off on the assistants.  Many of the larger firms with support staff seem to be guilty of this.

We attorneys who do speak with and meet with our clients believe that none of this is a good idea.  You need legal advice from an attorney in a bankruptcy and neither you nor a legal assistant can provide that.  In the above horror story though the client thought she was getting an attorney but she was not.  She was only able to deal with legal assistants, secretaries, and possibly paralegals.

I do not believe that this is any kind of good legal representation and I believe that most good attorneys will agree.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  For further questions please visit my websites at or  Or call my office for a free consultation or for any other advice about bankruptcy or debt at (619) 702-5015.   Call now for free credit report and analysis!  For a free e-book on “13 things to do to prepare for your bankruptcy filing” please e-mail me at

Picture courtesy of Jedimentat 44.