The immigration attorney won't give back my bf's file until I'm done with payment. The attorney we had was fired by the firm and we only got to speak with the new attorney once in more than 6mons. He went to one court and rarely reply to emails. My bf was order deportation and he said that he was going to talk to the judge to give him a chance for VD then he sent motion of appeal and had to write a brief he went on vacations a week before the brief was due and came back saying there were no grounds to file a brief. after the brief wasnt file my bf had to himself cancel the appeal while in jail. After my bf canceled the appeal the secretary sent another letter to cancel which didn't make sense. secretary said they were were on the courts cancelation acceptance to file for Voluntary dep
She said they were going to file for voluntary departure with the judge after the Imm Court of appeals accepted the appeal cancelation. That never made sense to me , plus I never got to speak with the attorney that took over the case but only once. Sadly my bf was deported. Until after that moment attorney never contacted me to tell me if he knew about the date of deportation. In total between the two attorneys the court appearances were only three and he is charging 6000$ . I paid more than half and sent a letter o f termination dated a week before my bf deportation. But now Attorney says he won't give back the files and will file litigation against me if payment is not completed ?!! What can happened to me if I don't finish payment? I don't think he offer a good service and don't have the money . He never notified my he was done with case after the court.
Ethics / Professional Responsibility Lawyer
You may have a right to arbitration regarding the fee. Look here for more info on NY's fee arbitration program -- http://www.nycourts.gov/admin/feedispute/
There are services available for handling fee disputes in NYC -- check here for more details http://www.nycbar.org/get-legal-help/fee-dispute-service.
Also, who is the lawyer's client? You or your bf? If you did not sign the retainer agreement or any other agreement promising to pay, then the lawyer's recourse may be only against your now-deported bf and not you.
NY does permit an attorney to retain a client's file for non-payment in certain circumstances. There is some discussion of those circumstances here -- http://www.nycbar.org/ethics/ethics-faq#withdrawalandretention .
I wish you the best of luck going forward.
Criminal Defense Attorney
It depends on what your retainer agreement says. Some contain minimum fee clauses.
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) 577-9797 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
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As Eric indicated, find your signed fee agreement and carefully review it. If you signed it in the first place hopefully it is clear and you understood the terms and that will quickly solve your problem with the clearly worded agreement.
Best of luck
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