Brad Weil Law > Blog > 2016 > June

Can a lawyer charge additional fee after the case is closed?

I hired a bankruptcy lawyer for chapter 13 six years ago. At my initial visit she said the cost will be $3500 , no hidden fees and now after six years the lawyer wants to charge an additional fee for work that was done during to case was open. The lawyer enters motion for additional fees. Can this lawyer ask for additional fee if it was never mention in the initial visit nor I was aware of the charges after six years.

In the Central District of California there is something called the Rights and Responsibilities agreement (RARA) that spells out what the client is expected to provide the attorney and what the attorney is supposed to do for the client.  The RARA is a flat fee agreement between the attorney and client and it allows the attorney to be paid without doing a supplemental fee application with the court.  There is a section of the RARA that is in bold and everything that is listed in bold is what the RARA fee (probably the $3,500) covers.  There is a section of the RARA that is not in bold.  If your attorney provided services that were not listed in bold they can charge extra for those services.  They must do a supplemental fee application in order for the extra fees to be approved by the court.  If you think the amount of  the fee being charged is unreasonable you can object to the fee application in writing when the motion is filed with the court.  The amount of the fee and the reasonableness of the fee will then be determined by the judge.  Look at your original contract you signed with the attorney when the relationship began and also read and review your Rights and Responsibilities agreement.