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Author Topic: Attorney Fees  (Read 1156 times)

Gram

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Attorney Fees
« on: Mar 04, 2006, 06:28:03 PM »
Dear Soc,
How do you recommend that I deal with what I believe are over-charges by my attorney? He recently brought in a new attorney to work on my case (without my permission), and I am being charged huge sums for her work. I like and trust my original attorney, and want to continue to have her represent me. What is the correct way to handle this?
Thank you


socrateaser

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RE: Attorney Fees
« Reply #1 on: Mar 05, 2006, 12:41:23 PM »
>Dear Soc,
>How do you recommend that I deal with what I believe are
>over-charges by my attorney? He recently brought in a new
>attorney to work on my case (without my permission), and I am
>being charged huge sums for her work. I like and trust my
>original attorney, and want to continue to have her represent
>me. What is the correct way to handle this?

If the new attorney is a member of the original attorney's law firm, then the attorney can spilt wort and fees without your permission. If the attorney is from outside the firm, then the attorney cannot bill you for the outside unless (1) the fee split is reasonable; (2) the fee split is proportional to the work done, or all attorneys agree to be jointly responsible for the entire case, and; (3) the client gives informed, written consent.

As you can see from the above, if the new attorney is actually employed by the firm, then you can be held responsible for the bill. However, the bill must be reasonable, based on time required, labor, skill, customary fee in locality, amount involved, result obtained, experience, ability and reputation of attorney.

So, if you think that you're being overcharged, then you should write the attorney and explain exactly why, using the above-named factors, you believe the bill is unreasonable. If you do, then the attorney must retain all funds in dispute in the trust account until the dispute is resolved, which means that neither you nor the attorney can reach the funds.

Then you'll have to try to resolve the dispute, either through arbitration/mediation/negotiation/legal action, etc. Meanwhile, your attorney will probably want to withdraw from the case and you'll have to come up with mo' money to retain new counsel.

If the bill is unconscionable (shockingly unfair by reasonably objective commercial standards), you can always take it to the state disciplinary authority. But, this may not get you your money back. It may only get the attorney sanctioned, assuming that the attorney is found to have violated the rules of professional conduct.

PS. Don't threaten to seek help from the disciplinary authority if you don't have your bill reduced. That's criminal extortion. Just tell the attorney exactly what you dispute and why you dispute it.

Gram

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RE: Attorney Fees
« Reply #2 on: Mar 05, 2006, 04:01:54 PM »
Terrific advice. Thank you so much!

 

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