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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 118175
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Firstly, I do not find a category Civil Law. I am in a fee

Customer Question

Firstly, I do not find a category for California Civil Law. I am in a fee dispute with my lawyer. We have a hybrid contract part $100 hourly plus a contingency in a malpractice claim over child support and alimony. There are many issues outstanding, for
instance not receiving monthly bills, he never put my money in a trust account much of which was cash after the fact, he tells me (he had no trust account) he then failed to account for much of the $30,000 in funds I gave him, taking money he claimed was the
total cost of trial not paying all cost, but applied part of those funds to himself for his fee's without informing me. Telling me months later he would need another 60,000 to go to trial. He failed to properly prepare for trial which forced me to settle my
$1,000,000 case for $170,000. The day of the settlement, he told me I would need another 100,000 if he was going to take this case to trial. He knew I did not have that kind of money. He was not a malpractice attorney and did not consult with one for my case
and what I know now, he had no experience in Malpractice. In all fees I have paid so far in addition to what he wants in contingency, he would be collecting 42% of the total settlement. I have spoken to other attorneys that agree I should not be treated this
way stating he could be dis-barded. The problem is that he is now threatening me that if I don't pay the money he demands that the law will allow him to bill me $350 an hour as the prevailing wage for good attorney in the area. My question is what should I
do and is there any truth to what he claims? I will agree for an arbitrator to decide things, but he refuses and is just bullying me. Any suggestions? Can or should I file a complaint with the State Bar and/or file for Arbitration.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

You should file for feed dispute mediation with the CA bar as they have a service to settle these matters without litigation. You should also file a complaint against him with the bar for violation of the rules of professional conduct for taking a case he was not experienced enough to handle and also for failure to properly bill you as a client and failure to have a client trust account. He is not correct that he would be allowed to bill you $350 an hour, first of all that is what a competent experienced malpractice attorney would get, which evidently is not him and second, you have a contract and he can only bill what the contract says he can bill no more than that.

I would suggest filing for the fee dispute resolution with the CA bar and simultaneously filing your bar complaint against him for his conduct and improper billing, failure to properly handle your case and failure to insure he had adequate experience for this type of case and failure to have a trust account.