Professional Responsibility & Attorneys as Debt Relief AgenciesPublished: 2005 |
This paper discusses the professional responsibility issues that arise under the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct when attorneys act as debt relief agencies.
The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (“BAPCPA”) amended sections 526, 527 and 528 which apply to debt relief agencies. Since the amendments, the question has arisen as to whether the definition of “debt relief agency” includes bankruptcy attorneys. If so, a strict interpretation of the applicable code sections would apparently place restrictions on an attorney’s duty to fully inform their client, and raise ethical dilemmas between an attorney and client in forming bankruptcy contracts. The paper further discusses the emergence of bankruptcy court orders excusing attorneys from complying with the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code regulating debt relief agencies, so long as attorney’s activities fall within the scope of the practice of law and do not constitute a separate commercial enterprise.
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