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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12032
Experience:  JD, MBA
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I have a contract with an attorney to complete a patent application.

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I have a contract with an attorney to complete a patent application. I paid $7,000 and he has done nothing in 2 years; he keeps saying he is working on and recently asked me to give him the patent paperwork i.e. the designs, patent pending I filed etc which means he has lost all the paperwork I originally gave him. I sent his firm a letter stating that the contract is in breach and I want my money back. The certified letters came back as un-deliverable. Come to find out the offices are closed although the LLC is still active. His partner is now practicing under another name. My question is, is my contract still valid if the firm is no longer in practice? The contract states arbitration is required but if I cannot find the attorney how can I arbitrate; I have an email from him stating that he and his partner split the funds and he cannot afford to pay it back but he still has not done the work either. He does not realize that I know his offices are closed. Does he have an obligation to inform a client that the firm is closing given the contract is outstanding?
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Q: My question is, is my contract still valid if the firm is no longer in practice?
A: The fact that the firm changed may not necessarily invalidate the contract. However, it may not matter because it sounds like the contract has been breached due to no work being done after two years. If the contract was in breach, then you are owed your money back. It also sounds like you have a reason to file a bar complaint against the attorney who has failed to do what you hired him to do, and also for failure to communicate with you and to keep you reasonably informed. You can file a bar complaint by following the instructions here: CLICK HERE.

Q: The contract states arbitration is required but if I cannot find the attorney how can I arbitrate; I have an email from him stating that he and his partner split the funds and he cannot afford to pay it back but he still has not done the work either. He does not realize that I know his offices are closed. Does he have an obligation to inform a client that the firm is closing given the contract is outstanding?
A: The attorney must keep the state bar apprised of his address. You can search for him here: CLICK HERE. I would also file the bar complaint, as that will surely get his attention. What you describe is improper. I would also send a request to the partner to return the funds, and file a bar complaint against the partner if he does not. From what you describe, they both violated the rules of professional conduct. They also should have informed you about the closing of offices.

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