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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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I am hiring a lawyer to bring a suit to recover money. I do not know where the future defendant is or her exact location. The lawyer said sure we can sue her I will find her, first you need to sign the retainer fee agreement and mail ( I live in a different state) a check of $3000. There is a clause to the agreement. That read as follows: “2) Retainer to be paid in full on the amount of $3000 dollars to apply on account for attorney fees as part of a NON-REFUNDABLE RETAINER. The minimum fee is the retainer received. “ My question is what if he does not find the defendant?, or if defended left the state ? or the lawyer find a former address and just write a lawsuit to justified performance? Please tell me how to proceed if I do not want to lose the money? What it takes for a civil suit to take place. I do not know anything about the process. Please tell me what steps take place in a civil suit. Thank you.


Thank you for contacting us.

Pursuant to this agreement, which is a legal binding agreement if you sign it, once you pay the $3,000, you may not recover it. You are not guaranteed that the lawyer will find the defendant or that the defendant is still in the state.

Even if you do sue this person, there is no guarantee that you will recover anything. The lawyer cannot guarantee it for you. If you get a judgment because the lawyer obtains a default judgment, this may end up being a worthless piece of paper if you cannot locate the person or the person's assets.

What you need to do before you hire this attorney is to hire a private investigator to track down the person to make sure they are still in the state. That way you will be able to provide the attorney with the person's location so that you are guaranteed that the suit will begin. You can also ask the PI to determine whether the person has any assets. If a person does not have assets or a job, it may not be worth it to sue.

A civil suit can take a long time, usually more than a year. It involves complicated written procedures and "discovery" (the process by which information is exchanged between the parties and witnesses are questioned before trial). This can be expensive for the attorney (hence the retainer). After that is done, the next phase is Motion Practice, where legal arguments are made to the court on whether or not you have enough evidence to support a case or whether the law supports your claim. If you pass this stage, you go on to trial.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating positively does not cause an additional charge and does not prevent us from further discussing your questions.

Best Regards,

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your response. Do you know the average cost of a lawsuit like this . Case is simple I entrusted money to this person about 20k, there are not witnesses. I have the deposit receipt and prove the money is mine so there is paper trail I just need to get a judgement.

Again just I need an estimate to keep this real.



Filing and service fees in Florida run around $350. Deposition costs of one deposition of the Defendant will cost approximately $800 to $1200 depending on which deposition company you use. The cost of buying a copy of your deposition (if the Defendant takes one) will be around $300. Associated costs of copying and mail will be around $100.

If you have to hire a Private Investigator to locate the Defendant, this could cost a few thousand.
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