Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
HelloThis is Samuel and I will discuss this and provide you information in this regard.First I suggest you will want to write her a letter requesting she provide you with detailed invoices on how your already retainer and any other fees have been spent and what you have paid and what is owed. Once you get that and review, if you dispute any of the work or charges, you will write her a letter outlining your disputes. At any rate, you will know what she says she has spent in regard to you case and how. Then you will also know what she says you still owe and you will be able to tell if the money she continues to request is for outstanding work she says she performed or if there is a balance she is looking to have you pay.If there is no balance, then you can make the request for your files and discharge her in the matter and find a better attorney as your friend suggests.As a last resort, you can always file a fee dispute with the Bar Association.Please let me know here if you have other questions or need clarification. Otherwise a Positive rating ensures i get credit for my time.
Thank youYes, she can hold your files, if she claims you have an outstanding balance. But you will want to see the invoice so you can determine if in fact you do owe the money.
And if she is overcharging you or defrauding you on the billable hours, based on the information she gives you and you can determine she has not done that work she is alleging then I suggest you consider a fee dispute with the Bar Association. Once the matter is resolved, then you would be entitled to you file.
Now, any information that you supplied to her, such as your business records, tax records, etc you would be entitled to having that returned with out a copy of your file. That is your property. But as far as a file from her office she can withhold it until you pay. Keep in mind, however, that anything she has filed in court, you can obtain from the clerk of the court for a small fee per page of copy and administrative costs.
So any "evidence" you supplied you are entitled to having it returned without paying a balance.
HelloThank you for the follow up questions.She can keep everything as far as what has been filed in the courts - which I stated you don't need from her file, as you can get copies of what has been filed from the courts. And information you have provided as to "evidence" or your personal notes you can get without paying a balance of the bill. If you consult with a local attorney, they can write her and obtain those documents for you.Any and all documents in an ongoing matter that you need to continue your case, and with a good faith basis for not paying a portion of the fee, she cannot withhold critical papers. Even after the attorney-client relationship is over, the lawyer has a duty to assist in an orderly transition to replacement counsel to minimize prejudice to their former client.
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