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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 99949
Experience:  Lawyer
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My lawyer has recently told me that I owe m money period of

Customer Question

My lawyer has recently told me that I owe him money for a period of time he says he should have charged me for. However, when I asked on more than one occasion (in writing) if I owed him money during that time period, he did not indicate that this was the case.
The next time I saw him for an appointment, I brought it up again, and he said 'from now on I will not charge you for anymore of my services. I will just take 25% plus HST from any settlement I get for you from your teacher's union.
He has gone back on his word, and on our arrangement. I reminded him of our agreement and sent him emails showing that I had asked on more than one occasion if I owed him money. He is still insisting that I pay him for the time period prior to when the new arrangement was made. When I told him I couldn't afford to pay him the $1500 he says I owe, he then said he would split the discontinuance money 50/50, rather than taking the 25% + HST. That way, he gets the money he says I owe him, plus the 25%.
I feel he has the upper hand because he's the lawyer, and I'm the client. Even though I don't think that what he has done is ethical, I feel powerless to challenge him on this matter. Please advise if there is anything I can do or if I have agree to split the discontinuance money 50/50 with him to cover the amount of hours he says he should have charged me for.
Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

Did you sign anything in writing?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I signed a contract in 2011 agreeing to give him 25% of any settlement plus HST. We also agreed that he would charge me a reduced hourly fee because I am on CPP Disability and on a limited income. He never did get me a settlement from the teacher's union. Now he's closing my case and getting a discontinuance amount.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He verbally told me that he would stop charging me hourly fees and would just take the percentage of any settlement amount.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He made reference to this new arrangement back in February 2016 in an email.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But, he did not include the fact that he had said he would no longer charge me hourly fees. That was said in the presence of myself and my husband in person.
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

You do not owe him this money.

The agreement was clear and you have written confirmation in the recent email.

You can tell him you are shocked that he is ignoring the agreement, you don't owe him a thing and you are happy to have a court decide.

You can also consider filing a complaint with the Law Society as this is misconduct. The law society doesn't deal with fees but this is not about fees. It is about a lawyer breaching a contingency fee agreement with you.

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