'No Look' Attorneys' Fees and the Attorneys Who are Looking: An Empirical Analysis of Presumptively Approved Attorneys' Fees in Ch. 13 Bankruptcies and a Proposal for Reform
86 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2011 Last revised: 12 Dec 2011
Date Written: 2011
This article presents original empirical research on the issue of “No Look” or presumptively approved attorneys’ fees in consumer Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. 11 U.S.C. section 330 requires court approval of attorneys’ fees. Courts are frequently unable to address the volume of applications if individual review were required. As such, many courts have set presumptively approved attorneys’ fees in which the attorneys’ fees for routine services are approved administratively. Circuits are split as to whether this practice can be rationalized with existing case law, the Bankruptcy Code or legislative intent. The study examines the practices of each Bankruptcy Court and finds a haphazard tapestry of fees, policies and procedures. To address these issues, the article proposes specific language to amend section 330 by adding a new subsection (G).
Keywords: no look attorneys' fees, presumptively approved attorneys' fees, chapter 13, bankruptcy
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