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Posted by John, a Family client, Flag
I retained Brad LaMorgese as my lawyer to argue on my behalf at a final hearing in a child custody case.
The main reason I needed able representation was because opposing counsel was asking that I pay their two attorneys' fees ($25,000). In interviewing Brad, he said that they could not ask for them post-trial, as it was a "jury issue" that they had failed to submit. That it was too late to go for the fees now.
Part of my assistance to Brad was drafting up questions to ask both opposing counsel and their client over the fees. Questions that addressed the fact that they did no discovery whatsoever in the case, that they used two lawyers, why haven't they produced any billing records to support their fees, etc.
At the hearing, Brad did a good job laying out the points of the issues not pertaining to the legal fees.
When it came to the attorney fees issue, Brad asked opposing counsel (who took the stand) one question: where are your billing records. They didn't have any, and at that point Brad stopped asking any more questions. Nothing to counter unsupported fees of $25K, in a case where they failed to do any discovery whatsoever. No cross examination. Nothing.
Following the hearing it concerned me that we didn't aggressively pin them down on the unreasonableness of their fees with probing questions of his or using the ones I drafted. The next day I called his office with my bad gut feeling. He said that since they didn't prove up any documents, that they essentially can't be awarded them.
Well, you can imagine my disappointment when two months later the judge made a ruling in the full amount that opposing counsel requested. Brad was wrong. Not only wrong about whether the fees could be asked for, but when given a chance to at least try to minimize the fees through aggressive cross examination, he failed to stand up and fight for me.
I immediately spoke to another board certified family lawyer about Brad's refusal to cross examine the lawyer when he was on the stand, and he said that Brad messed up. He even mentioned to me that I should ask for my money back.
I spoke to Brad and his paralegal Denise in the law office a few days later, and expressed my massive disappointment. That my gut was right-- his refusal to challenge $25K in fees was a silent admission that they not only could be asked for, but were reasonable as well.
Brad said that the $25K was not only reasonable but "low." My point to him was that, yes, they would be reasonable if opposing counsel did any discovery on this case at all, but they didn't: no interrogatories, no depositions, and no discovery. And that needing two lawyers on a case who did none of the above needed to be exposed to the judge. Who then might have at least mitigated the fees.
I later told Brad that I'd like to meet in his office to discuss his representation, and despite numerous attempts he has completely ignored me. Calls made to his boss at the firm, lawyer Mike McCurley, have also never been returned. I was very polite in my messages and simply wanted to share with him my experience.
Apparently as long as Mike McCurley's firm has your money it couldn't care less about a client's feedback on the quality of its lawyers' services.
Also, a motion was necessitated by Brad's inaction early on in the case. He didn't respond to a letter from opposing counsel, so they set a hearing. Getting that hearing moved required a Motion for Continuance, and guess who was billed for drafting and filing it with the court in Waco?
I paid Brad $17,500 to represent me, and I feel I wasted my money. A fresh law school graduate would have fought more aggressively-- using cross examination 101 skills-- than Brad did. His passiveness and lack of assertiveness cost me dearly.
Brad LaMorgese pros:
-Brought to my attention a few legal tactics that helped in the other issues argued before the court
-Brad presents himself well
-Nice office at the Tollway and Northwest Hwy
-His law firm, McCurley, Orsinger, McCurley, Nelson and Downing, specializes in family law