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An attorney I want to hire first insists that I pay him (make a bank transfer) first without providing me with a contract

Los Angeles, CA |

is this alright or not. I will only seem him on the day of the hearing as I live far, so I thought that I had to sign a contract before making the payment. Can he later say that i never gave him money or not...not sure what to think though this could be the procedure too so had to ask :)

Attorney Answers 6

  1. NO - any agreement for legal services in excess of $1,000 requires a written retainer between the parties (CA State Bar Rules)! Plus, why would you want to wire any funds even if less than $1,000 without receiving a written "retainer" (contract between you and lawyer) setting forth the work that will be done and the cost you will be charged. And wiring money without any such agreement is a real bad idea, no matter how little the amount may be! For all you know, the person may not even be an attorney! As an aside, if you found my direction helpful, and if you feel appropriate; could you be so kind as to designate my answer as the “best” answer to your question? I truly wish you the best of luck!

  2. If anyone (especially an attorney) said that you must deposit money before reviewing and understanding the contract, I would not use their services.

    This answer is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice regarding your question and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

  3. This does not seem right for you. You should strongly consider getting a contracts/agreements attorney here in LA to handle your contract for you. You want to meet and feel comfortable with an attorney who is experienced in contracts and local to you so that the attorney is easily available and on call for any questions that you may need answered immediately. What kind of hearing did you attend and do you live or work in LA? You should talk to the attorney about these matters.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not intended nor construed to be "legal advice" but rather it is analysis, and different lawyers may analyze this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I have been licensed to practice law in California since 1978. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

  4. what the attorney is trying to do is to ensure that you have money to pay him. At the same time you are ready to pay him, ask him to see the retainer agreement you will be signing. If he produces it and you are happy with it, pay him.

    Of course, you are unfortunately a bit under the gun also, if things don't sound right, since you are meeting him at the time of your hearing.

    Can't you just call the attorney and ask him for a copy of his retainer agreement in advance?

    The above is not intended to be legal advice, but may be used for general information. Please contact an attorney for specific help tailored to your needs.

  5. This sounds like a scam, poor business practice, or unethical behavior. In any case, do not wire any money to him. To check if someone is a lawyer in California or not, use the link I'm attaching.

  6. "Can he later say that i never gave him money or not" is not the question.

    You should have written contract because:

    1. It is required if the fees are more than $1,000 as aptly pointed out by my colleague.
    2. Written contract defines scope of services and other terms and conditions.

    Good luck.
    Good luck.

    You must contact a local attorney or obtain telephonic consultation from an attorney to discuss specifics of your situation and get full advise. The information given here is general in nature and does not establish attorney-client relationship.