What to do if the law firm that I hired to represent me in my bankruptcy has now gone out of business?

I paid all the legal fees but have not yet paid the court fees. I recently tried to contact them to pay the court fees, but I discovered the firm went out of business. Is there anything I can do at this point? I cringe at the thought of having to pay another lawyer, or to do this process myself.

Asked on May 31, 2014 under Bankruptcy Law, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If there is work on your bankruptcy for which you paid the law firm, but that work was not completed before the law firm went out of business, that portion of the fee you paid should be refunded.  You should also receive a copy of your bankruptcy from the law firm.  If you are having difficulty contacting the law firm by telephone since it is out of business, try contacting the firm in writing.

As for the court filing fee, you can pay that directly to the bankruptcy court by writng a check payable to the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court.  If all of the work has been completed on your bankruptcy, you can file it with the court and pay the filing fee at that time.  Your bankruptcy is effective upon being filed with the court.

If your bankruptcy is a Chapter 7, the court will schedule a meeting of creditors.  You can go to that hearing without an attorney.  The purpose of that very brief hearing is for the bankruptcy trustee to review the accuracy of the information in your bankruptcy.  A date for the discharge of your bankruptcy will then be set.  This means that creditors won't be able to challenge your bankruptcy after that date of discharge.

If your bankruptcy is a Chapter 13, that type of bankruptcy requires a plan (budget) for repayment of creditors.  It would be advisable to be represented by an attorney. 


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