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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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We recently had a UMI litigation an the judge awarded in our

Customer Question

We recently had a UMI litigation an the judge awarded in our favor. The settlement is for 965,000.00. The attorney is cutting us a check for 412,000.00. Claiming 40% plus other attorney fees for the 6 attorneys and Dr.'s fee for appearance at the litigation. I feel cheated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

Did you have a "contingency fee" agreement with your attorney where you agreed to pay your attorney 40% of your recovery in exchange for the attorney advancing his/her legal services and litigation costs on your behalf?

(If so, that would likely account for this distribution - attorney's fees, plus expert fees often cut a plaintiff's recovery by half or more - the benefit for the plaintiff is that without the attorney advancing their services, the client would never have been able to get representation (it is very costly to pay for civil litigation, and few litigants have money to pay for services on an hourly basis (attorney's fees run $250-$450 per hour (or more), plus the actual expense of litigation).

You should however, have received a very thorough documentation of what the breakdown of your recovery was (how much went for legal services, how much for expert, etc.

If you have questions, ask the attorney - they should be able to show you in your contract (the Legal Services Agreement you signed when you retained the attorney), how the figures were calculated and why the distribution was the way it is.

If this discussion is unfruitful (you feel that the attorney is actually taking more than they are entitled to by contract), contact your local bar association and ask for referrals to fee-dispute resolution (most have informal dispute resolution to help clients), but if my suspicion is correct, and this is a contingency fee payout, it is very likely that these fees are substantiated (that doesn't mean you shouldn't ask the attorney for details, just approach it from a perspective of asking what they are relying on to support their claim for fees - they should be able to show you).

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