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Nathan I. Neff

Nathan Neff’s Answers

1 total

  • Is it legally ethical for a lawyer to breach their contract with their client because of their lack of professional interest. ?

    I have been having issues with my, attorney for several months, she refuses to listen, she speaks over me when I'm talking, she personalizes all communications, when we do talk, she avoids every question that I asked and resides with undesirable ...

    Nathan’s Answer

    Your attorneys right to represent you must spring from a contract, usually a written one. The terms of the attorneys representation should be governed by the written document/contract. Attorneys should not take on cases that they are not competent to handle - Rule 1.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. An attorney who wishes to withdraw from further representation may do so under most circumstances (see 13th amendment to US Constitution) but there are often rules imposed by the court that advise that the attorney is required to give you formal written notice and an opportunity to retain new counsel so that your case is not adversely impacted by the withdrawal.

    As for the "old attorney" the presumption is that you had a written agreement - which governs the terms of fees. If it's a contingency fee contract, then the attorneys' right to collect 1/3rd should be based upon there having been a recovery. If there was no recovery, then there is likely nothing owed by you. That said, attorneys may have a right to collect money for the value of services provided - quantum meruit. If all the original attorney did was refer you to someone else and that someone else did little or nothing and then withdrew as your counsel, it seems as if there was very little "value" provided to you. An attorney who gets fired by his client can try to sue the client for the value of the services provided. However, suing a client is probably not good for the reputation of the attorney and if there was no meaningful value provided to the client by the attorney then the damages (the claim value of the services) that might be sought would be so small as to make a lawsuit undesirable or not feasible.

    Rule 1.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct require the attorney to carefully listen to the client so as to be able to comply with reasonable requests for information and so as to be able to explain the matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions about the case or about the representation itself. Basically, a client can't give informed consent until the lawyer has communicated adequate information and explanation about the material risks of and reasonably available alternatives to the proposed course of conduct.

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