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LegalKnowledge
LegalKnowledge, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 16263
Experience:  7+ years handling Legal, Real Estate, Criminal Law, Family Law, Traffic matters.
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my lawyer is suing me for $8000.00 in legal fees...he did nothing

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my lawyer is suing me for $8000.00 in legal fees...he did nothing for me except put my case in default...to complicate matters he has taken my signature and used it on other documents without my permission...we are due in court on Monday...what do I do?!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.

Good morning. I certainly understand the situation and your concern.Is the attorney suing you for breach of contract? What is the hearing for on Monday? Do you have any legal defenses to the lawsuit and did you raise these in your answer? I am just trying to get an idea of the basis for which the attorney thinks they are owed the $8000 and when none of the fees were paid.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good Morning. He is not suing me for breach of contract he is suing strictly for legal fees...I gave him $1000.00 at the onset. He allowed the case to go into default then made motions to vacate the default and then to remove himself from the case. This is strictly a fee issue and he prevented me from going to fee arbitration. Monday is the trial I never answered any of his questions because he led me to believe he was going to dismiss his lawsuit. I am totally unprepared and unable to retain an attorney...how can I get this case out of court and back into fee arbitration where it belongs.
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the additional information. It is important to realize that the attorney would first have to be able to justify the $8000 in legal fees, which they are seeking to recover. Based upon the facts that you stated above and the work done, I can not see how a motion to vacate a default resulted in such high legal fees, if the attorney never did anything and allowed the case to go into default, in the first place. Notwithstanding, if Monday is the trial, the Judge can either grant your request for a continuance and give you more time to prepare and retain legal counsel or may want the case to proceed, depending how long it has been set for trial already. During the trial, evidence will be introduced and testimony will be taken, to determine if you do in fact owe this attorney the money sought. He will have to evidence the billing which he has to base on the work actually done. You will have every right to respond and testify as to why you do not think this money is owed and it would then be up to the Judge/Jury to decide who to rule in favor of. If you wanted this to go to fee arbitration, a request would have had to have been made. Unless the attorney agrees to dismiss the case and to go to arbitration or the Judge orders it, then it likely will stay within the court. Here is a copy of the form that would need to be submitted. http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/oae/feerequestfrm.pdf In addition, you could have a good faith basis to file a complaint with the Bar, about the attorneys conduct. First, the attorney should never have lead you to believe that this was going to be dismissed and prevented you from filing an answer and raising any defenses. Second, if you think there was fraud and he used your signature, that could be unethical as well and subject him to discipline. The burden would be on him, at trial, to show that the $8000 was for actually work done and that will be reflected by what is in the actual court fill and his billing records, from his officer, which the Judge will want to see. If you only paid him $1000 at the start, it is hard to believe that he would rack up an additional $7000 in fees, without withdrawing sooner or demanding additional payment

Please let me know if you have any follow up questions or need any clarification on something which I stated above, prior to rating me. Also, please remember to rate my service with 3, 4, or 5 faces/stars, before exiting the site, so I can receive credit for my help. I hope you found it to be Excellent! Only rate my answer when you are 100% satisfied. If you feel the need to click either of the two faces/stars on the left, please STOP and reply to me via the "REPLY TO EXPERT or CONTINUE CONVERSATION "button. I want to make sure your experience with the site was as pleasurable as possible and that you are satisfied with the help I provided
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Since I have been granted one adjournment am I legally able to request a second adjournment to get counsel.
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
That would be at the discretion of the Judge, based upon the showing of good cause. If you previous asked for more time to obtain an attorney and failed to do so, the Judge may not grant your request again. However, if the previous adjournment was for something else and you have made efforts to find an attorney but still need more time, the Judge may grant one more request, seeing how you are unrepresented and the amount which is at risk.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
One last question...and you have been very helpful...what if I were to write an order to have the case sent to fee arbitration and ask the judge to sign it on Monday along with the request for adjournment
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
This should have been filed with the court ahead of time, so the Judge could have had time to rule on your request or set the matter for hearing, so opposing counsel could have responded and presented their argument. However, you can always file the motion in open court and have an order prepared ahead of time, for the Judge to sign, if he grants your request. There is nothing wrong with being prepared and the worst case is that the Judge denies your request.
LegalKnowledge, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 16263
Experience: 7+ years handling Legal, Real Estate, Criminal Law, Family Law, Traffic matters.
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