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I'm in the process of obtaining a lawyer's services and the…

I'm in the process...

I'm in the process of obtaining a lawyer's services and the agreement that I need to sign says I should get advice from an independent attorney for advice about liens. Can you help me here or should I seek a local attorney and what kind of attorney would that be?

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

California

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

None, just received retainer agreement

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

She also has a section on discharge and withdrawal that she recommends I seek an independent attorney

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Answered in 7 minutes by:
3/17/2018
socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 39,753
Experience: Retired
Verified

Notice: If you receive an offer of a phone consultation, which may appear to be sent by me, please know that this is an automated website offer from Justanswer, and that I do not participate in this program. If you accept the phone call offer, then a different contributor will be assigned to call you, who may or may not be licensed to practice law in California.

Hello,

I am a member of the State Bar of California.

Justanswer is a Q&A website. I can answer general questions about the law in this forum. I cannot review a fee agreement or any other contract, unless we take the matter offline into an attorney-client relationship (with customary fees, and a fee agreement similar to that which your prospective attorney is apparently offering -- except that I don't use attorney charging liens to recover unpaid bills from a client, so you don't need to seek independent counsel).

That said, if you have some general questions, feel free to ask. If you need confidential legal counsel, then let me know and I can send you an offer of direct correspondence.

Thanks for using Justanswer!

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I think I just need a better explanation of what is stated in the retainer agreement. She recommends I seek an independent attorneys advice about 2 sections...LIENS and DISCHARGE and WITHDRAWL.

Attorneys who intend to obtain a lien against a client's property have a legal obligation to advise a client "in writing [emphasis added] that the client may seek the advice of an independent lawyer of the client’s choice and is given a reasonable opportunity to seek that advice." Cal. Rules Prof. Conduct 3-300(B).

If you agree to an attorney's charging lien, your settlement or award obtained from the attorney's efforts in the case is subject to the attorney's lien for payment of all fees incurred in representing you in the matter. Isrin v. Sup. Ct. (County of Los Angeles) (1965) 63 Cal.2d 153, 158.

Concerning discharge and withdrawal, a client has an absolute right to terminate/discharge an attorney at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. However, the attorney is still entitled to be paid for the work done up until and including the date of termination, and the attorney's charging lien would apply to permit the attorney to recover against the client's settlement or award, if the client ultimately prevails in the matter (even if he/she hires another attorney).

The same applies to a withdrawal, which is the attorney's request to the court to be permitted to cease representation of the client. There are specific reasons why an attorney can withdraw -- the most typical being that the client is not timely paying the attorney's hourly fees (inapplicable to a contingency fee agreement); and where the attorney believes that the client is being so uncooperative that the attorney cannot provide competent representation.

That about covers it, I think.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, Justanswer retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf. Note: If you cannot find the rating button on your webpage, please just type in your rating in a response to this note, and customer service will apply the rating for you.

Thanks again for using Justanswer!

socrateaser
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Satisfied Customers: 39,753
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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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