How Much Does A Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost?

If you are struggling with debt and considering filing for bankruptcy, you might wonder how much it will cost you to hire a bankruptcy lawyer.

Bankruptcy lawyers can help you navigate the complex legal process, protect your assets, and negotiate with your creditors.

But they also charge fees for their services, which can vary depending on your location, the type of bankruptcy you file, and the complexity of your case.

In this article, we will explore the average costs of hiring a bankruptcy lawyer in the U.S., the factors that affect these costs, and some tips on how to pay for them.

We will also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of hiring a bankruptcy lawyer, and some alternatives you can consider if you cannot afford one.

An infographic of How Much Does A Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost

Paying your bankruptcy lawyer

Compensating your bankruptcy attorney stands as a crucial aspect of initiating bankruptcy proceedings.

The manner and magnitude of your payments hinge on the bankruptcy chapter you pursue. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Typically, attorneys charge a flat rate, necessitating full payment before initiating your case. The typical cost falls between $1,000 and $3,500. While some may offer payment plans, they’ll only proceed after receiving the entire fee.
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Attorneys commonly require a portion of their fee upfront, with the remainder integrated into your repayment plan. Expect costs ranging from $3,000 to $6,000. Certain courts might impose fee limits for Chapter 13 cases.

It’s important to note that the attorney’s fee excludes the court filing fee, currently standing at $338 for Chapter 7 and $313 for Chapter 13 as of February 2024. Payment plans or fee waivers may be available based on income criteria.

Additionally, the attorney’s fee doesn’t encompass the mandatory credit counseling course, typically priced around $50. Completion of this course before filing and another one before discharge is requisite.

Flat fees versus hourly fees

When it comes to paying for legal services, you’ve got two main options: flat fees or hourly rates. Let’s break it down:

Flat Fees:

  • Pros: These fees offer clarity right off the bat. You and your lawyer agree on a fixed amount before any work begins, so you know what you’re in for financially.
  • Pros: They often motivate lawyers to work efficiently, wrapping up your case pronto since they’re not earning extra for extra hours.
  • Pros: No billing headaches! With the fee set upfront, there’s no room for disputes later on.
  • Cons: Sometimes, flat fees may not perfectly match the value of the service, leaving room for over or undercharging.
  • Cons: They might not cover all the unforeseen costs that could pop up during your case, like additional filings or motions.
  • Cons: They could discourage thoroughness since lawyers aren’t compensated more for going above and beyond.

Hourly Fees:

  • Pros: You’re paying for exactly what you get – the hours your lawyer puts into your case.
  • Pros: It allows for flexibility, adjusting the fee based on the complexity of your case.
  • Pros: Incentivizes your lawyer to give it their all, as they’re rewarded for putting in the extra work.
  • Cons: It’s a bit of a gamble since you won’t know the total cost until the end, which might stress some clients out.
  • Cons: There’s a risk of lawyers dragging out the work to rack up more billable hours.
  • Cons: It can sometimes lead to disputes over billing accuracy or necessity.

So, which is best for you? It depends on factors like the complexity of your case, your budget, and your lawyer’s experience.

Flat fees are great for straightforward matters like personal bankruptcy, while hourly rates might be better for complex cases like business litigation.

Ultimately, it’s about finding the right fit for your needs and circumstances.

Factors that affect bankruptcy lawyer fees

When it comes to bankruptcy lawyer fees, a few things come into play:

  1. Case Complexity: The more complex and drawn-out your case, the more time and effort your lawyer needs, often leading to higher fees.
  2. Type of Bankruptcy: Different bankruptcy types mean different procedures and costs. Chapter 7 cases usually have a set fee, while Chapter 13 cases might involve payments through a repayment plan.
  3. Location Matters: Where you and your lawyer are based can impact fees. Urban areas often see higher costs due to living expenses and demand.
  4. Lawyer’s Expertise: Seasoned pros in bankruptcy law might charge more than newcomers due to their skill and reputation.

Remember, these factors vary case by case, and fees are often negotiated. It’s crucial to compare services and fees among different lawyers.

Don’t hesitate to ask about their fee structure upfront. For more guidance on paying your bankruptcy lawyer, check out these sources.

Benefits and drawbacks of hiring a bankruptcy lawyer

Engaging a bankruptcy attorney comes with its share of advantages and disadvantages, contingent on your individual needs and objectives.

Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons associated with hiring a bankruptcy lawyer:


  1. Expert Guidance: A bankruptcy lawyer can assess your situation and recommend the most suitable bankruptcy type, be it Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, and navigate you through the intricate legal proceedings.
  2. Asset Protection: They can safeguard your rights and assets while negotiating with creditors on your behalf, ensuring you avoid common pitfalls that might jeopardize your bankruptcy.
  3. Time and Stress Relief: Handling paperwork, deadlines, and court communications can be overwhelming. A bankruptcy lawyer can take care of these tasks, saving you time and alleviating stress. They also represent you at necessary meetings and hearings.
  4. Optimized Outcomes: With their expertise, a bankruptcy lawyer can strive for the best possible results, whether it’s debt discharge, asset retention, or payment reduction.


  1. Cost: Legal fees can be steep, particularly if the lawyer bills hourly or adds extra charges. On average, bankruptcy lawyer fees in the U.S. range from $1,000 to $6,000, contingent upon case complexity.
  2. No Guarantees: Despite their efforts, a bankruptcy lawyer can’t assure case success due to various influencing factors like non-dischargeable debts, non-exempt assets, and creditor objections.
  3. Necessity: In straightforward cases like a no-asset Chapter 7 bankruptcy, where you lack property or income subject to trustee seizure, hiring a lawyer may seem unnecessary. DIY bankruptcy filing using online resources could suffice.

Ultimately, deciding whether to hire a bankruptcy lawyer hinges on your unique circumstances, preferences, and objectives.

It’s essential to evaluate the pros and cons carefully, comparing fees and services among local lawyers. For further insights into hiring a bankruptcy lawyer, consult these resources.

Also Read

Leave a Comment