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New York, NY |
Filed under: Professional ethics

Consulted with a partner of a firm for a fee. Referred to an attorney working in the office. Signed retainer with referred attorney. All my proceeds for work done were sent in Partners name. Partner did the distribution of money. However, referred attorney abruptly left firm and started her own, leaving me with Partner. Partner did work on my case for several months. In the last month, I informed Partner I have no agreement with them. Change of attorney achieved. New retainer generated, partner will receive 33%, instead of 25% the referred attorney had. Eve of trial, I change attorney. New attorney ask for cost from old attorney. I feel old attorney grossly padded cost. Old attorney worked on my case without agreement, up until the last month. Do I have to pay that padded cost?

Attorney Answers 2


I agree with Mr. Rothstein. You need to review the initial retainer carefully to determine whether you hired the associate or the firm. I also recommend that you request an itemized statement othe cost, usually called disbursements, so you can be sure that you are correct that they are "padded."

The author of this posting is licensed to practice law in the State of New York. This posting is intended as general information only, is not provided as legal advice in connection with any specific case, and should not be construed to create an attorney-client relationship.

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I don't understand... if the partner and the associate worked for the same firm why didn't the initial retainer cover them both? Usually you retain a firm not a specific attorney in a firm.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 385-8015 or via email at The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

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I believe that as well. However, I have been told that I should get my money back from the referred attorney because she did not do much work on my case. It appears that there was some sort of disagreement between the two and I am caught up in it. I gave money to that firm in the name of the Partner, not the referred attorney. The Partner did not exhibit any of the money I submitted prior to her taking over the case as payments to her firm. In addition, in regards to the retainer, am I obligated to pay the Partner's fee although I was under agreement with the referred lawyer which was much less. Partner established a new retainer 6 days, before I fired her. Under whose contract was I engaged for most of the case? I am confused about this. In an emailed invoice by Partner, I was charged $75/hr for paralegal work and $300/hr for Partner, now in bill rendered to new attorney, paralegal cost is $150/hr and Partner is now $350/hr. Is it possible for their hourly rate to have increased along the way. I do have an invoice with a lessor rate per hour for both of them. although I was not under contractual agreement with Partner.

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