Jacoby & Meyers Bankruptcy, the “national law firm” formed in 2012 by Jacoby & Meyers (the personal injury lawyers) and Macey Bankruptcy Law PC (the firm that operated for years under the name Legal Helpers), has been forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy by a group of creditors including LegalZoom (the self-help folks) and a number of lawyers.
The firm’s website now lists a number of other law firms that will help clients by taking over their cases.
Goodbye and thanks for all the fish, as the saying goes.
If you’re a client of Jacoby & Meyers Bankruptcy, there are a few things you need to know to avoid being stranded.
You Have A Right To Choose Your Own Bankruptcy Lawyer. It’s nice that J&M has transferred your file to another lawyer who will allegedly honor all fees paid, but how do you know if this is a good bankruptcy attorney? I’m not knocking the lawyers who are taking over the cases, but it’s up to you – not J&M – to pick who is going to represent you.
Most States Prohibit Nonrefundable Fees. If you paid J&M any money towards your bankruptcy case and it hasn’t been filed yet, you may have the right to get your money back. The reality is that you’ll need to file a Proof of Claim in the firm’s bankruptcy case and may never see a dime of it back, but that shouldn’t stop you from filing your claim.
Even If Your Case Has Been Filed, You Can Get A New Lawyer. In a Chapter 7 case, you can get a lawyer for the meeting of creditors as well as any post-filing work by paying a modest amount of money. For Chapter 13 cases, you can get a new lawyer who will be paid through your Chapter 13 Plan. If your Jacoby & Meyers bankruptcy lawyer was going to get paid through your Chapter 13 Plan, you or your new lawyer can object to the claim and ensure they get nothing more than what you’ve already paid.
If Your Case Has Been Filed, Jacoby & Meyers Is Still Responsible Until The Judge Says So. Once your case is filed, your lawyer is obligated to represent you. The only way they get out from under that responsibility is if a judge allows the lawyer to withdraw. It’s unlikely that someone from Jacoby & Meyers Bankruptcy is going to show up in court with you, but if that’s the case then they’re going to be facing court sanctions and ethical problems to boot.
Ultimately, You Need To Take Control. Jacoby & Meyers Bankruptcy is still your lawyer if your case has been filed. And if not, you can either opt for one of the new firms or find someone else. You can try to get back the fees you’ve already paid, or you can suck it up and pay someone else to handle your bankruptcy case. In the end, it’s your financial future so don’t just hope that someone else is going to take care of things for you.