Paying a NY Bankruptcy Attorney: How to Make it Affordable

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Filing for bankruptcy in New York can cost $1,500 or more. But, how can you pay a bankruptcy lawyer when you don’t have any money, your mortgage is past due, your credit is bad and you’ve already up to your ears in bills? It may seem like a Catch-22 for debtors, but in reality, it’s much simpler than you might think – and there is a way out.

How a person in debt can afford a bankruptcy lawyer:

Elliot Schlissel, a New York bankruptcy attorney, says that the issue of paying an attorney when you want to file for bankruptcy really isn’t a Catch-22 situation. He explained why:

Very often lawyers will tell their clients to stop making certain payments. For example, if you have a mortgage on a house and you fall behind on that mortgage, the bank will generally accelerate the debt, meaning they call the debt in and you can’t make your mortgage payment. At that point in time, the individual is basically saving their mortgage payments because the bank won’t accept their payments.

The same can be true for credit card payments. At some point, it doesn’t make sense to make the payments, so they just accumulate the money, stop making the payments, use it to pay the administrative expenses of filing the bankruptcy and pay the attorneys’ fees. Also, many attorneys will accept payment plans from their clients.

Schlissel says that consumers should know that there is a way out. They should speak with an attorney who will be able to educate them on how to accumulate money even while they’re in debt in order to file the bankruptcy.

How are New York bankruptcy attorneys compensated?

New York bankruptcy attorneys get paid by the consumer, according to Schlissel, who told us that it is generally on a set-fee basis and the fee goes up based on the complexity, the number of creditors and other problems in the bankruptcy. He says that the attorney will do an analysis of the situation in the initial interview and determine how much the bankruptcy will cost.

Schlissel’s firm has been handling bankruptcy matters for over 30 years and has represented both consumers and creditors in thousands of bankruptcies – which gives his clients a unique perspective. He explained:

We have represented large financial institutions – banks, credit card companies, department stores and hospitals, so we know the perspective of the creditor. We know both sides of the system. The way to learn a system is to learn what the people who are going to oppose you are looking for and to satisfy them so you don’t have to fight with them. Today, we generally represent consumers or debtors in bankruptcy filings.

If anyone has any questions on bankruptcy, they can go to his website,, hit on the “Bankruptcy” section, and find answers to many questions concerning bankruptcy issues.

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