Attorney Fees in Bankruptcy

In bankruptcy law one of the murkiest, most frequently controverted issues is the awarding of attorneys’ fees. The attorney who learns to apply proper rules of compensation in a bankruptcy case will best serve the interests of his client while maximizing his compensation fully consistent with ethical and policy standards. A fee request properly documented and grounded on firm legal principles will carry the professional through the delicate task of acquiring payment for services rendered and costs incurred with minimal hardship and embarrassment.

This comment covers the bases for the awarding of attorneys’ fees in proceedings under the Bankruptcy Code of 1978. It discusses policies underlying both Code and case law which deal with the essential areas of attorneys’ fees and costs as these relate to the overall objectives of the Bankruptcy Code. This writing is directed to experienced or novice attorneys working in the bankruptcy field, as well as to Bankruptcy Court judges, in the hope that it will serve as a guide and a tool for further research. Since the work of a trustee directly abuts that of the attorneys working on a bank- ruptcy case, trustee duties and compensation will be lightly discussed for purposes of clarification and definition of boundaries.

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Steven J. Carney, Attorney Fees in Bankruptcy, 19 Gonz. L. Rev. 333 (1983).

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