(a) Fee Election and Disclosures. Any original, amended, or modified chapter 13 plan (collectively the “plan”) must indicate on the plan form whether compensation by the attorney representing the debtor will be on a flat fee or hourly basis. If a flat fee is elected, the plan must state the amount of the flat fee and specify what services are to be included in the flat fee. The fees sought in the plan must be consistent in amount and description with counsel's FRBP 2016(b) disclosure. The fee disclosures in amended and modified plans must be consistent with the fee disclosures in the original plan.
(b) Flat Fee Requirements. An attorney may elect to seek approval for fees in the order confirming the plan up to the amounts set forth in this Court’s General Orders.
(1) Entitlement to Flat Fee. A flat fee is available if:
(A) The attorney agrees to provide all services listed in subsection (3);
(B) Section (C)(2)(a) of the plan form contains the attorney's election to accept a flat fee and identifies the amount of the flat fee;
(C) No party objects to the requested fees; and
(D) The Court confirms the plan or otherwise enters an order approving such fees.
(2) Amount of Flat Fee. The maximum fees that may be approved as a flat fee are:
(A) $4,500 for a non-business case;
(B) $5,500 for a case where the debtor indicates in the statement of financial affairs that they are self-employed or engaged in business and required to file monthly operating reports under Local Rule 2084-2(b).
(3) Minimum Required Services. Attorneys electing a flat fee must provide legal services through confirmation of a debtor’s plan, and thereafter assist a debtor to obtain a discharge, including, but not limited to:
(A) Reviewing financial documents and information;
(B) Consulting, planning and advising, including office visits, email and telephone communications;
(C) Providing advice regarding pre-filing credit briefing;
(D) Preparing/filing petition, schedules, statement of financial affairs, current monthly income, payment advice declaration, master mailing list, and declaration re: electronic filing;
(E) Preparing/filing of chapter 13 plan, plan analysis, and necessary amendments;
(F) Preparing/filing bankruptcy notice in state court actions;
(G) Appearing at §341 meeting of creditors and continued meetings;
(H) Resolving non-adversary proceeding creditor objections and attending related hearings;
(I) Reviewing and analyzing creditor claims for potential objections, and attending related hearings;
(J) Objecting to proofs of claim;
(K) Preparing/filing affidavit of no income regarding tax claims;
(L) Notifying client of unfiled tax return claims, follow up with taxing authority;
(M) Preparing proposed order confirming plan with cover letter to trustee addressing each issue numerically;
(N) Preparing/filing motions to extend time;
(O) Preparing/filing responses to pre-confirmation motions to dismiss;
(P) Preparing/filing pre-confirmation stipulations to vacate a dismissal order;
(Q) Responding to motions for stay relief, and attending related hearings;
(R) Drafting and mailing any necessary correspondence;
(S) Filing debtor changes of address;
(T) Providing advice regarding filing post-filing education course certificate;
(U) Providing advice regarding discharge eligibility certificate;
(V) Amending schedules; and
(W) Filing business operating statements, if applicable.
(c) Effect of Flat Fee Election. Unless ordered otherwise, an attorney’s election to accept a flat fee is irrevocable and the Court will not approve additional compensation for work necessary to confirm the initial or an amended plan or in cases where the Court confirms no plan. The flat fee election does not prohibit debtor’s counsel from seeking additional flat fee or hourly compensation for services not mandated in subsection (b)(3).
(d) Procedure for Seeking Approval of Pre-Confirmation Fees.
(1) Flat Fees. An attorney may elect to seek approval for flat fees in the order confirming the plan up to the amounts set forth in subsection (b)(2).
(2) Hourly Fees. Unless a flat fee has been elected, an attorney must file a separate application for allowance of compensation and reimbursement of expenses in compliance with Code §330 and FRBP 2016(a).
(e) Procedure for Seeking Approval of Post-Confirmation Fees. An attorney must file a separate application for allowance of compensation and reimbursement of expenses in compliance with Code §330 and FRB 2016(a) regardless of whether hourly or flat fees have been elected.
(f) Payment of Attorney’s Fees. Unless ordered otherwise and except for pre-petition retainers, all fees must be paid through the plan.
(g) Payment on Dismissal. If no party objects to counsel’s fees disclosed in the plan, reasonable fees may be awarded in the dismissal order or in a separate order lodged by debtor's counsel.
Notes 2022: LR was amended to clarify the procedure for applying for fees and to include the amount of the flat fee within the rule, rendering GO 17-2 moot.
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