Maybe; maybe not. I know, you hate this kind of answer but it is a bit more complicated, and depends on a few things that you did not mention in your question. (Be sure to complain about this practice by the law firm to the lawyers if it bothers you as explained at the end of this answer.)
Do you have a written fee agreement (aka retainer agreement) with the law firm? If the client (you) are an individual then one is required under California Business & Professions Code section 6148. If...
Sounds like "the cat is out of the bag" as far as your secret vis-a-vis that law firm goes. Unless the information was disclosed pursuant to a very strict protective order that is still in effect and which provided that the firm getting access to the protected information would not use it or not represent anyone adverse to the disclosing party (you) in another litigation.
There does not seem to be any way to prevent the law firm from representing the other client on a true "conflicts" basis...
1. Complain about this to your attorney. Put it in writing.
2. If no results then talk with the law firm's managing partner (if there is someone like that).
3. If still no result, then contact the local bar asociation for their help.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION
Fee Arbitration Program Administrator
San Diego County Bar Association
1333 Seventh Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101-4309
Mr. Koplien's advice is good. In addition here are my thoughts: You should write (keep a copy!) back to the lawyer right away and tell him that you are surprised by the bill as he said that he would work for the $500 plus $1,500. Perhaps he will explain or withdraw his bill. If he will not then ask if he is agreeable to fee arbitration with the local or state bar program (a lawyer has no choice in this--but sometimes just asking can be an effective bargaining tool). The mandatory fee...
Think of some OTHER options that will allow you to keep this attorney working for you.
Propose them to the attorney.
Here is what I see as possible options: 1. Stop paying by the hour and convert the matter to a contingency fee type of retention from this point on. 2. Defer payment of any more of the hourly rate based fees until the matter is concluded. 3. Arrange a payment schedule that you can afford.
Please write to your attorney about this as soon as you can. It is very rare for a...
A seven day trial means about 70 hours of time, which at $500 per hour would be $35,000.
Then there is the pretrial and hearing work so add another $15,000.
A rough estimate is a total of $50,000.
How much was your bill?
When you hired the lawyer did you all agree that it was going to be an easy case since the DA's case was so bad? Or were you and your lawyer worried about the possible conviction?
Did you have a written fee agreement?
Did you get a budget?
If you are not happy with the...
What is the reasonable value (aka "quantum meruit") of legal services?
In Fergus v. Songer (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 552, 561, the Court of Appeal cited with approval the following nine factors relevant to deciding a legal fee quantum meruit claim: 1) The amount of the fee in proportion to the value of the services performed; 2) The novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and the skill necessary to perform the legal services properly; 3) The likelihood, if apparent to the client, that...
Asuming that the 1st lawyer was licensed when he/she did the legal work and the client did ask the 1st lawyer to do the work then the 1st lawyer can recover the reasonable value for his/her services even though he/she is not licensed now--if the claim is not more than 2 years old.
Most of us (CA lawyers) were quite surprised when the Cal. Supreme Court filed its opinion in Chambers v. Kay which held that agreements between lawyers to share the fee paid by the client had to be signed by the...
If you want to get a bill than you are entitled to have one. California Business & Professions Code section 6148 reads in part that: "Upon request by the client, the attorney shall provide a bill to the client no later than 10 days following the request ..." Ask for a bill and if necessary (because you don't get a bill) put this in writing in a nice, friendly but firm note or email to your lawyer. Express concern about what this is going to cost you.
Not to worry you but something to think...
When you go through the list of lawyers suggested to you, you should have a list of information and a written description of the underlying case that was handled by your former lawyers. You you will need to explain these things: 1. when was the last day that the former lawyers did any work for you on the case?; 2. what was the case about in simple terms of a paragraph or two; 3. what was the result in the case?; 4. what do you think was done wrong?; 5. If the case had been handled correctly...