Question

Gail Dahl contacted lawyer Susan Crowe to file bankruptcy. When Gail called the office, she talked with Jan Odegard, the paralegal, and inquired how much a Chapter 7 bankruptcy would cost. Jan told her the fee was $1,200 and mailed her a questionnaire to complete for her appointment, which was set for a week later. The procedure for the firm is to have the paralegal interview a client and then refer the client to a lawyer.
When Gail came in for her appointment, Jan interviewed her and told her again that the fee for the bankruptcy would be $1,200, payable in advance. Gail paid the fee to Jan. Gail was then interviewed by Susan. During the course of the interview, Susan discovered that Gail was the owner of a small business that was also heavily in debt. Further questioning revealed that Gail’s business debts consisted of more than $350,000, with over 150 creditors. Since the business was a sole proprietorship, it would have to be included in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Susan told Gail that because of the magnitude of the bankruptcy, the case would cost $2,500. Gail protested vehemently, stating that Jan told her it would cost $1,200 and she refused to pay more. Gail accused Susan of bait-and-switch tactics and threatened to file a complaint with the state bar.
a. What did this incident do to the reputation of Susan?
b. How did this incident affect the reputation of lawyers in general?
c. What did Jan do wrong?
d. What did Susan do wrong?
e. What did Gail do wrong?
f. How could this type of incident be avoided?



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  • CreatedFebruary 12, 2015
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