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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12235
Experience:  Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.
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What do I do when my lawyer will not respond to me? Assume

Resolved Question:

What do I do when my lawyer will not respond to me? Assume he is still working for me or doesn't want my business?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 10 months ago.

Brandon M. :

Hello there.

Brandon M. :

Hello, can you see this?

Brandon M. :

There is no rush to reply. Just let me know when you are available to reply. Thanks.

Customer:

Yes, I can see this. I am not good at this kind of thing, so be patient with me.

Brandon M. :

No problem. Take all the time you need. There is absolutely no rush. I just wanted to make sure that you weren't having a technical problem.

Brandon M. :

Did you actually retain this attorney? Do you have a retainer agreement with him?

Customer:

When my brother first got involved he had all wills changed and then proved her incompetent. I live in Florida and was flying back and forth to Pennsylvania until my husband died and I could not take cared of her anymore. It's the kind of story we hear about all the time. He hated her until he found out she had money. I had to get a Lawyer to keep her assets safe so she would be kept in a home until she died. He has swore I will not see any money and even though it isn't much by some it means a lot to me. By the way my mothers, lawyer, had a conference call to me with my brother in his office and I agreed to a 50 50 split in a new will and I thought that was what it was until she died and I found out my brother had it all. Can't cry over spilt milk but what is fair is fair. and my name is XXXXX XXXXX other stock. Any advise????

Brandon M. :

Do you have a retainer agreement with this attorney?

Customer:

Originally I was paying him by the hour and I assumed it was still in place. He never told me differently.

Brandon M. :

Did you sign a contract with the attorney?

Customer:

Not that I recall. Let me dig up last bill and see what it says. Will take several minutes.

Brandon M. :

Please do. It is important to what approach you will want to take.

Brandon M. :

I am happy to wait while you search.

Customer:

Originally he requested a retainer but hasn't so far this year. He wrote: As I told you today, I am also required by Pennsylvania regulations which govern the conduct of attorneys to advise new clients of my billing practices when my representation of shch clients begin. In matters such as this, I bill for my services on an hourly rate. My current hourly rate is $175.00 I am cognizant of my clients desire to keep legal fees to a minimum, and will endeavor to accommodate that goal. Specifically, where appropriate, I will utilize the services of a more junior attorney, or a paralegal whose current rates range between $125.00 and $75.00 per hour. I would also request that you mail to me a retainer in the amount of $1,500.00, which I will place in my trust account. Bill are generated no less frequently than quarterly, and retainer amount will be used to satisfy those bills. Any unused retainer amount will be refunded to you at the conclusion of my representation to you. Oh my I guess when he sent me $125.00 back last year, money he hadn't used, I no longer had an attorney??? But he has called me since . 6 months ago, and never mentioned money.

Brandon M. :

Well, that clearly states that you were his client at one point in time. Did he complete the services for which he was originally hired?

Customer:

Originally, yes, but several other things came up concerning my brother and me and Lawyer called me to ask what I wanted to do.

Brandon M. :

Ok, so it sounds like, at the very least, the attorney was clearly continuing to act like you were represented even if the original work was complete. He was offering legal advice and services, and continuing to bill you for his time. Is that correct?

Customer:

Haven't received any bill this year.

Customer:

Yes, he was offering legal advice and services .

Brandon M. :

Ok, we're almost finished with the questions. Thank you for your patience. Is there any service that the attorney provided that he started and did not finish? For example, did he take the information to draft a new will without actually drafting a new will? Did he start any task and fail to complete that task?

Customer:

Boy that's a tough one. My brother filed papers and has a year to sue me. I did not want to do anything but changed my mine and asked Lawyer to take next step and do what was necessary. Don't know if he has. Want to get rid of Brother. Now the stock thing is in his hands. Do I assume he is still working for me????

Brandon M. :

That's what I'm having difficulty figuring out. There are basically two possibilities. Either the attorney has assumed representation for you in this matter, or he hasn't. If he hasn't, he is under no obligation to respond to you, period. However, if he is still representing you, he is obligated to respond to your requests for communication and his law license can actually be jeopardized by failing to respond. There are two approaches.

The first approach is that you can just call and ask if you are still a client.

The second approach is to assume that you are still a client and demand a response. You might draft a letter something like this:

Brandon M. :

"On xx/xx/2013, yy/yy/2013, and zz/zz/2013, I requested from you a status update regarding my case. I have not heard anything from you. As you are aware, Michigan's Rules of Professional Conduct requires that a lawyer shall promptly comply with reasonable requests for information from the client. I look forward to hearing from you immediately."

Brandon M. :

So it really depends on how badly you want to push the issue. You can ask nicely if he plans to continue working for you, elevate it to a warning, and then report him for professional misconduct and let the state decide whether you are or are not a client. You can also just ask nicely and (if you don't hear back) assume that he doesn't want to work for you any longer.

Brandon M. :

So what to do is your decision, but it really depends on how aggressive you want to be.

Brandon M. :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

After writing to you I can see how a retainer is important. But first I need to ask if he is still representing me. He knows all the facts and I hate to change boats in the middle of the stream. Yes it makes a lot of sense. I have a son who is after me and a friend who says get another attorney. My gut says stay with the one I have. I am a realtor who has been fighting since 1976 in that business and am not very aggressive any more. Now at least I have your advice and I can answer to my family and friends that I am taking care of it. Thanks, XXXXX raised a great guy.

Brandon M. :

Well thanks, XXXXX XXXXX those words.

Brandon M. :

Did you have any other question?

Customer:

Not at this time. One problem at a time. Thanks again. Sharon

Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12235
Experience: Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.
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