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Zachary
Zachary, Attorney
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Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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I hired an attorney to assist me with my simple divorce case

Resolved Question:

I hired an attorney to assist me with my simple divorce case and paid her a 2k retainer. She told me my ex refused to mediate and therefore we would have to go to court. My ex is an honest man and has told me that he never refused to mediate. I told the attorney I no longer needed her assistant due to this being such a simple divorce (no kids, etc.) I received a bill from the attorney of all of these things she did as a result of my ex "not being willing to mediate." I believe my ex because he has been nothing but cooperative with me. I want to dispute the work she did as a result of my ex "not being willing to mediate." What do I need to do to ensure I get a fair shot at disputing those charges? There is no way to prove what he said to her. It's really my exes word against the attorneys.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zachary replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your question.

Was your ex represented by his own lawyer?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No he did not hire an attorney.
Expert:  Zachary replied 1 year ago.
What you need to do is get an affidavit from your ex which details the conversations he had with your attorney and states that he never declined mediation (and in fact was never given the chance to decline mediation).

You face an uphill battle in fighting your attorney's invoice if the attorney decided to sue you over it. But securing an affidavit from your ex would definitely help.

Are you stating that you believe that the attorney did not actually perform the items stated on her invoice? Or are you stating that you believe that the actions performed were not necessary because the case should have been mediated?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That her actions were not necessary.
Expert:  Zachary replied 1 year ago.
This will be difficult to prove, as the type of work needed often falls within the discretion of the attorney given the authorization provided by the client. If you hired her to represent you in the divorce and she believed that the work performed was necessary and reasonable, then it was likely within her authorization to do so.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that she did not overcharge you and it does not mean that you are wrong. Your gut tells you that she overcharged you given the level of controversy involved. That's why what you should start with is obtaining the affidavit from your ex-husband.

The next thing you should do is contact her and tell her that you are simply not going to pay the bill and that you believe she is overcharging you. Most attorneys will work with clients when it comes to such matters. However, if she does not wish to work with you in lowering the bill, your next step should be to contact the State Bar to file a grievance.

You may contact the Louisiana State Bard Association regarding lawyer fee disputes by following the directions on the following page: http://www.lsba.org/2007MembershipDirectory/lawyerfee.asp?Menu=PR

Zachary, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4019
Experience: Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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