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Is my attorney over charging me?

 
 
Reply Sat 2 Aug, 2014 01:08 pm
As the question reads Is my attorney over charging me? I went to mediation for the first time and I am out of funds after paying my attorney 0ver $11,000.
My attorney's reason for price being so high do not seem legit to me.
My ex's attorney wanted me to pay his bill of $2,600 at mediation. Should my attorney fees be close to my ex's or is it normal for such a huge gap?
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Type: Question • Score: 7 • Views: 2,663 • Replies: 22
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Aug, 2014 01:42 pm
@reasoning logic,
Contact the local bar association.
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Aug, 2014 01:47 pm
@ehBeth,
My cousin is a real estate attorney and says that we may be using the bar. but he would like to see if we can get half of that back first. I wish I would have asked my cousin who I should have used at first but I did not want to bother him.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Aug, 2014 01:57 pm
@reasoning logic,
What were the reasons your attorney gave for his/her fees?

Perhaps your attorney charges much more per hour than your ex's does.

Maybe you had many more billable hours than your ex did.

There really isn't any way for us to know.
Frank Apisa
 
  0  
Reply Sat 2 Aug, 2014 02:04 pm
@reasoning logic,
Hey, RL. Long time no see.

Sorry about the law fees...but dealing with lawyers is like swimming with sharks.

Good luck.
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Aug, 2014 02:05 pm
@boomerang,
My attorney said my wife was hard to comply with her info. I can not see where this is true. My wife had some pay stubs that were hard to read but other than that I thought my wife replied in a timely fashion. I seen where my attorney asked for them in a different format and then again a week later but I do not see where that is reason for such a high price.
reasoning logic
 
  0  
Reply Sat 2 Aug, 2014 02:06 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Thank you Frank Surprised
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Aug, 2014 05:00 pm
@reasoning logic,
Ask your attorney for a detailed accounting of billable hours and expenses.

Then, if it seems unusual, go to the state bar as suggested. You can file a complaint with them and they will investigate it.

I had to do this with an attorney in California many years ago. State bar agreed with me and saved me thousands of dollars.
modification01
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2014 11:48 pm
Ask for a break up from your attorney and also shop around to have a clear understanding....
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Aug, 2014 02:35 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:
Contact the local bar association.

Why should he do that?
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Aug, 2014 02:35 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:
Sorry about the law fees...but dealing with lawyers is like swimming with sharks.

Bite me, FA.
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Aug, 2014 02:36 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:
Ask your attorney for a detailed accounting of billable hours and expenses.

This is good advice. If the attorney hasn't provided you with a detailed accounting of his billable time, you need to insist that he do so.
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Aug, 2014 06:56 pm
@Ticomaya,
I asked for detailed billing but did not receive it as of yet. I have 2 other attorneys reviewing the bill and both have said they have not seen billing like that before. One of my new attorneys happens to be a good friend of the owner of the firm who is billing me and she said that it seems to be deliberate and even though they are friends that it was wrong. She reviewed my case said it was a simple case and can not understand why it cost so much.

I have some good news but I am still mad

This is a letter that I received yesterday.

Dear John doe

I have been in communication with your legal council and am sorry to hear that you are dissatisfied with our service. I understand that you are requesting a refund of $5,000.00, to allow you to retain the services of Jane doe. "my best friend" lol

I have reviewed your file, and it appears the majority of the attorney fees were incurred due to opposing counsel’s failure to provide certain documents requested by our attorney, and his refusal to schedule mediation. Unfortunately, this caused your bill to be unusually high.

Whether we are your attorneys or not, we want the best outcome for you. As such, although we have earned, and are entitled to, the money remaining in your trust account, and to the money already transferred from your trust account for prior months’ work, we are issuing a refund in the requested amount to assist you in retaining new counsel and hopefully finalizing your divorce.

Please contact my office as soon as possible to schedule a time to pick up your refund.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Aug, 2014 08:25 pm
@reasoning logic,
Don't let them get away with not giving you a detailed accounting. You may find you are owed more than the $5k they have so easily given back.

Don't sign anything or accept the check until you've received the detail.
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2014 06:32 am
@Butrflynet,
I am concerned that they may want me to sign away my rights to proceed with further investigation.

I would have to borrow from my 401k to hire my new attorney because they depleted my my credit line. Funny how they did that being I had to turn in all my financial information. What really bothers me is that I exceeded the estimate for going to trial and she said it was her job to get people to care about the position that I am in. She failed to do that and had her withdraw form already made up for me to sign her off the case at mediation.
I only have the $250.00 per month that I was already paying her to finish the case and it was not sufficient enough for her.
0 Replies
 
bankruptcycenter
 
  0  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2014 12:33 am
i think there's a gap!! however it would be a hood idea to shop arpund....
0 Replies
 
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2014 10:47 am
I am beginning to wonder if i have a case for a lawsuit. It appears that the charges were deliberate and my attorney seems to have lied about attending a hearing miles away. It also appears that she has violated many ethical rules and did not honor the oath that she swore to.
Does anyone think I have a case?
Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2014 04:47 pm
@reasoning logic,
Same advice as earlier. File a complaint with the Bar Association in your jurisdiction.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2014 05:35 pm
@Ticomaya,
Ticomaya wrote:

ehBeth wrote:
Contact the local bar association.

Why should he do that?


because that's where complaints about lawyers are registered/investigated here
Ticomaya
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2014 10:30 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:
because that's where complaints about lawyers are registered/investigated here

Yes ... here too. But step one ought to be to determine whether there is a valid complaint about the lawyer, rather than just complain to the bar association. Clients are often surprised at how expensive litigation is. Which is why the first step is to get an itemized bill, and examine it carefully, and identify any specific charges that do not appear to be legitimate.

reasoning logic wrote:
I am beginning to wonder if i have a case for a lawsuit. It appears that the charges were deliberate and my attorney seems to have lied about attending a hearing miles away. It also appears that she has violated many ethical rules and did not honor the oath that she swore to.
Does anyone think I have a case?


If the attorney lied about attending a hearing, which she did not attend, that is serious and significant, and would indeed be a valid basis to contact the bar, if the law firm is not willing to make things right.

If the law firm refuses to provide you with detailed billing, that is another reason to contact the bar.

I would contact the law firm again, identifying all specific charges which you are concerned about (which you obviously cannot do if you don't have an itemized billing statement), and making sure the lawyer/owner is aware that you know the charges are bogus (if you are sure about that), and that while you appreciate his willingness to refund $5,000, you believe you are entitled to a larger refund, of $_______, and explain why you feel that way. Be sure to convey that you feel you are without any other recourse than to contact the bar association because of your fraud concerns. If this is a reputable firm, they may not want their good reputation tainted with a bad review on avvo.com, or other law firm review websites.

The attorney who represented you has a billable hour requirement, and her compensation may be directly tied to her billable hours, depending on her arrangement with her firm. So there is a chance that she has "inflated" some of her billing entries for that reason. This would be hard to prove, of course.

The local bar may also have a fee arbitration service, which may be helpful.

I would think a lawsuit should be your last resort.
 

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