Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight
delay between your follow ups and my replies.
I am sorry for your situation. It is indeed unusual for an attorney to contractually hire you on your own case.
The problem is that if the money is paid in settlement, it is paid to the attorney
who then is supposed to put it in the escrow account and take off his fee, and give the rest to you.
So the problem is that you could not hold back the money not because you should not, but because he would have it to begin with in his escrow account.
There is no precedent or rule
under the guidelines that attorneys follow for this kind of situation (California Rules of Professional Conduct, The State Bar Act - Business & Professions Code §§ 6000 et seq., etc) because it is quite unique. You are in "uncharted waters," so to speak.
Ergo, someone in your situation may wish to:'
1) Charge this invoice, and have it be paid in addition
to the settlement that you are entitled to;
2) If the attorney refuses to pay, then you should indeed consider arbitration via the Bar - specifically, the Mandatory Fee Dispute Program - here
. Even though the invoice that he owes you is a contract and not "his fee" per se, given that you are his client to begin with, the Bar is likely to hear this matter under that program anyways. Attorneys fear Bar oversight and normally agree to amicable solutions to avoid such a matter, but if it comes to it, the arbitrator shall make a proper decision.Is there an attorney who take this case and can it be charged to the attorney?
JustAnswer experts are not allowed to take customers on as clients. May I recommend the CA Bar referral program - here
. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.
While some attorneys work for a fee upfront, some may take it on a contingency basis, meaning they do not get paid unless you do. Usual set up is their take is 33% settlement, 40% win at hearing, etc. It is negotiable.
Best of luck.
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