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There are four siblings in my family— (the oldest brother),

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There are four siblings in...
There are four siblings in my family—Dick (the oldest brother), Ron (the brother next in line), me (the oldest daughter), and Marilyn (the youngest sister). When our mother passed away, Dick believed that Ron had forged Trust Documents and initiated a lawsuit against Ron. Ron convinced Marilyn and me that he did not forge the documents and asked us to join him in fighting Dick’s lawsuit. He guaranteed that he would pay all legal bills related to the lawsuit in exchange for our cooperation. However, the lawyer representing “our side” required Marilyn and me to sign the retainer agreement.After a prolonged battle, it was proven that Ron had indeed forged Trust documents without the knowledge or permission of Marilyn or me. Although Marilyn and I were exonerated, the lawyers put a lien on our trust assets which pretty much depleted our portions of the Trust when the distributions were made.Not only did Ron renege on his promise to pay all of the legal bills, he sued Marilyn and me for 2/3 of the fines inflicted on him due to his malfeasance. This second lawsuit was settled contingent on the three parties’ compliance with the requirement that we could not disparage each other to family and friends. The settlement allowed Ron to extract settlement payments from Marilyn’s and my portions of the Trust.Almost immediately, Ron breached the settlement agreement and Marilyn and I reported the breach to the Trustee and our lawyer. Then I instructed the Trustee to forward what was left of my portion of the Trust to my lawyer—which pretty much paid his bill in full.Ron found out about the disbursement to the lawyer and demanded that the lawyer turn over the money to him. I objected due to Ron’s breach of the agreement. However, the lawyer did not want to deal with Ron any longer, so he turned over the money to Ron and began pressing me for the fees.Now the lawyer is demanding that I go to arbitration due to my non-payment of his fees. I am 73 years old and have no money to fund arbitration in another state. (I live in New York and the Arbitration is in California). I wrote a letter to the lawyer—which is attached—detailing why I have not paid his fees and why I will not be able to pay them in the future.Would it suffice to send a letter to the Arbitration Board?And should the letter not work and the board rule against me because I do not have the necessary legal representation, what would happen next?
Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Legal
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3/25/2018
Lawyer: legalgems, Lawyer replied 3 months ago
legalgems
legalgems, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13,627
Experience: Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

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Lawyer: legalgems, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

I am very sorry to hear this; that sounds like a long drawn out battle.

If a party pays their legal fees and the attorney then chooses to allocate that money to a third party absent a contractual agreement or a court order to do so, generally the initial payment would be considered payment in full.

If an arbitration award is final and binding, (most are) then the arbitrator's award can be enforced in the CA court:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=1286.&lawCode=CCP

with judgment be entered pursuant to the award. The judgment creditor can then proceed with collection in the other party's state by recording the judgment and pursuing collection avenues in that state.

It is possible to file a complaint against an attorney for violations of the professional code; please see:

http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/Complaints-Claims/How-to-File-a-Complaint

Please see specifically chapter 4 here:

http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/Conduct-Discipline/Rules/Rules-of-Professional-Conduct

You can review that section to determine if the fees were unreasonable or if any of those provisions apply.

Also if the case does go to arbitration or to civil court it is possible to arrange telephonic appearances for long distance parties. This depends on the particular arbitrator/judge's rules so they would need to be contacted to determine the procedure for requesting.

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Lawyer: legalgems, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

Hello; just checking in on the above.
If you have further questions please post here and I will do my best to get you the requested information.
Otherwise
kindly rate positively (hopefully you feel I have earned 5 stars) to help maintain my high customer satisfaction score and so I know you were satisfied with my services.

The above information is for educational purposes only. An attorney in one's jurisdiction can be located at https://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_services/flh-home.html
Thank you.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
If I file a complaint against the law firm can that delay the arbitration? I am trying to avoid arbitration because I can not afford the preparations, the representation, and the travel that would be involved?
Lawyer: legalgems, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

If there is a basis for challenging an arbitration clause that can be the grounds for a lawsuit; otherwise if a party files a frivolous lawsuit (one with no merit) then the other party may request as sanctions attorney fees and costs.

Further questions please post here!

otherwise kindly rate positively-thank you!

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Lawyer: legalgems, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

Hello; just checking in on the above.
If you have further questions please post here and I will do my best to get you the requested information.
Otherwise
kindly rate positively (hopefully you feel I have earned 5 stars) to help maintain my high customer satisfaction score and so I know you were satisfied with my services.

The above information is for educational purposes only. An attorney in one's jurisdiction can be located at https://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_services/flh-home.html
Thank you.

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