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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  Lawyer
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I red a lawyer to represent my son and he has failed to

Customer Question

I hired a lawyer to represent my son and he has failed to represent him....my son has been locked up for 6 months...the lawyer has not filed any documents for a bond reduction.I have paid him 5000 so far.I don't know what my next step should be
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

The first step would be to talk to your son, and see if he will agree to a meeting with you and the lawyer, or if he will give the lawyer consent to talk to you about the case. Even though you are the one paying the bills, you are not legally considered the client - your son is the client. Under attorney/client confidentiality, the lawyer cannot tell you anything without your son's permission - it's a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. So, if you want to talk to the lawyer, that's your starting point.

Part of the problem, though, is that you can be subpoenaed to appear in court and testify as to things that were discussed in front of you, because you're not the client. So by trying to help, you could be inadvertently endangering the case if the prosecutor finds out your son had a meeting with his lawyer when you were present. There's no legal right to refuse to testify against your child, and you could go to jail for refusing. I'm not saying that to scare you - just be aware that if the lawyer refuses to meet with you or discuss the case with you, he may have a very good reason for doing so. He doesn't want to jeopardize your son's case any more than you do.

One way to avoid that problem is to also ask your son if he has asked his lawyer to file for a bail reduction, why the lawyer hasn't done it, and if he's happy with the defense the lawyer is providing so far or if he wants a different lawyer. Your son can fire his lawyer at any time, and you can hire another one. You just need to be sure that your son doesn't want to continue working with that lawyer. If your son is facing serious charges that could potentially carry a long prison sentence, it's possible that he doesn't want a bail reduction. Time spent in jail awaiting trial will be credited against whatever sentence he later gets, and I've talked to people who preferred to serve in the jail where people await trial rather than the prison, for a variety of reasons (it might be nicer, less crowded, more convenient for visitors, etc.) Or it could be that he's hoping to get sentenced to time served, meaning an immediate release after trial, and he's willing to stay in jail until the trial for that reason.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

But if no one's happy with the lawyer, and he's not doing his job, your son can fire him and you can hire someone else. Check the retainer agreement that you signed, to see if the $5,000 was a flat rate or a down payment. If it's a retainer, you're entitled to a refund of any monies he hasn't earned yet, and he'll have to produce records. If it's a flat rate, it may be more difficult to negotiate a refund, and that may be something that would require going through the Bar Association or the courts.

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