Nothing is more frustrating and scary than being in the middle of a bankruptcy case with an unresponsive bankruptcy attorney. But you don’t have to sit and anxiously wait for you attorney to call: you can take action to get the response you need. Below are a few tips:
- Try various channels. If you’ve left your bankruptcy attorney several voicemails and gotten no response, try contacting them via email or a private message on social media. If they have a receptionist or assistant, you should also leave a message with them. Make sure you’re message is clear, includes your contact info, and emphasizes the urgency of the situation.
- Make an appointment. Ask the bankruptcy attorney’s assistant to schedule a phone (or in-person) meeting. Tell them you only need ten minutes of the attorney’s time.
- Show up. If you’re unable to schedule an appointment with the bankruptcy attorney, and they are still not returning your calls or emails, you should just show up to their office. Once you get there, don’t make a scene. You should calmly ask to speak with the attorney, but if that doesn’t work, you should quietly wait outside of their office. If you arrive around lunch time, opening or closing times, it’s more likely you’ll catch them leaving or returning to the office.
- Write a letter. If none of the above work, you should send the bankruptcy attorney a certified letter, reminding them that it is their ethical duty to return your calls since they’re representing you in your bankruptcy case. You should also say that if you do not hear from them within a certain timeframe that you will need to explore your options. Do not directly threaten them with legal action or a bar complaint.
- File a complaint. First things first—if you must attend a bankruptcy hearing, go to it even if your attorney hasn’t gotten back to you. If the attorney doesn’t show up, tell the bankruptcy trustee or judge what has happened. You may even want to request more time. At this point, it may be best for you to file a complaint with the bar and find another lawyer.
- Get another attorney. While the bar is processing your complaint you should move quickly to find another bankruptcy attorney so that your case isn’t delayed or harmed by your absentee attorney’s negligence.
While your attorney may have a good reason for not returning your calls, their emergencies or personal issues should never interfere with your right to good representation.