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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32356
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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My partner and I are not getting paid ($7500). We went to a

Customer Question

My partner and I are not getting paid for services ($7500). We went to a lawyer who discovered in our intial talks there is much more we are owed, totalling $18k. Now 2 months later our lawyer is saying the other sides offer to settle is $5700. I am angry and fruststrated that we are spending $2k in lawyer fees to recieve less money. It appears like the lawyer baited us to retain his services with the idea there is more owed. Is this ethics or how do I stop the bleeding, we are down to an offer of $5700 from what our lawyer said would be $18k that we are entitled.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 6 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I need you to explain the issue that you have as well as the specific question with which I can assist.

I understand that you are unhappy with the settlement amount they offered but are you upset because your lawyer is trying to push you into taking it (you don't mention whether he is or not) or is it something else?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.

Im upset that had we not talked with a lawyer we probably would have gotten what we billed $7500 thru small claims. The lawyer made us believe we could get more so we were more inclined to take his services.I believe when he saw ostensibly more of what we could get he saw more time ($) for him and chased a red herring. I believe when he went to the other side and tried to get the $18k they took a new harder position and attitude to cooperate disappeared to where they are going to bleed us dry. Can we get the $7500 now or now we lose that too?

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 6 months ago.

You can sue and perhaps get all of the money you are owed and as was initially discussed ($18k or so) plus, since it is a breach of contract type case you can also ask for your attorney's fees.

You don't mention how much experience you have had with this so I'll explain the way the system works.

In a lawsuit, you can always settle if both sides are willing but no one can make you settle the case. The settlement offer is whatever the two sides agree on. At some point it becomes economically feasible to settle and at some point it is the right thing to do but that decision is always the client's. The lawyer is never supposed to "make" you settle.

If a settlement can't be reached, then you always have the option to file suit or, if the lawsuit has already been filed, continue with the lawsuit and try to get a judgment against the other side. After you get a judgment then you can start trying to collect on it by garnishing wages, seizing assets, etc. A judge can sign these orders but they really don't have any other type of power to make someone pay a judgment.

If you do settle your case then that will be all the money you can ever get from the other side for this case. You can't change your mind and seek more in the future so you need to be sure that you want to settle before you do.

Talking with and hiring the lawyer has not hurt your case or your ability to sue or your ability to recover. It has cost you come money but, as I said, you can sue for that amount as well.

It may be that they decided to take a harder line with you since you got a lawyer although that would be unusual. They also may be wanting you to come back now with a counter-offer of settlement, which is the next logical step. All of these settlement offers and negotiations are not admissible at trial so the judge will never know you offered to settle for something less than the full amount you are owed nor will the judge know that the other side offered to pay you something.

You really haven't been harmed at this point by what the lawyer has done, other than you paid the fees.

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