Isyour lawyer entitled to 1/3 of monies refunded from a garnishment that was invalid because a bankruptcy had already been filed?

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Isyour lawyer entitled to 1/3 of monies refunded from a garnishment that was invalid because a bankruptcy had already been filed?

My lawyer did not submit for my bankruptcy case until he was paid all of his money. About 1 week after the first meeting with the lawyer, a judgment creditor of mine was allowed to garnish my wages. At the bankruptcy hearing the trustee informed me that I was entitled to receive all of my money back. My lawyer told me that he would have to sue the garnisher and if I was to get anything back he was entitled 1/3 of it. Is this true and, if so, how do I go about getting my money back on my own without a lawyer?

Asked on December 30, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The reason that your attorney told you that is because he believes that he is not acting within the scope of the bankruptcy and is rather acting as a collection attorney, which could get him 1/3 of a fee for the recovery.  Is it possible for you to consult with the trustee and ask him or her on what basis of law you would be permitted to recover? Then if the amount is under the requirement that is permitted for small claims you can try and sue the creditor yourself.  If you are unsuccessful you can always hire the attorney later but for now, you can indeed try on your own.  Good luck to you.


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