Can a lawyer you are considering hire call your current lawyer without your permission? (and when asked not to)?

Asked over 1 year ago - Chicago, IL

We have an attorney that charges hourly and we were interviewing contingency attorneys. We contacted one that mentioned he could call our current attorney and get our case info. I immediately said no do not call him. I explained we are charged hourly and we are interviewing other attorneys. He promised no one would call our current attorney. Then, before the conversation ended, I asked him again to not call our attorney's office. He , again, promised no one would call him.

Well, I got a bill from our current lawyer for a call he took from this attorney for $100.00 a few days after I specifically asked him not to call him.

I have contacted this lawyer and asked them to pay this bill since they are responsible for this charge after I asked them not to call. THey will not respond

Additional information

I would like to know if they can legally do this? Especially, after I asked them not to. It is actually not even my case, it is my husband's.

And, what are my recourse's to get them to pay this?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. David Matthew Gotzh

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . It will be your word against the attorney in disputing an amount of $100. And since the new lawyer never talked/dealt with your husband, I don't think he had a fiduciary duty to him - meaning I think it would have been a different story if your husband had talked to new attorney, NOT YOU. This is why I never take a case from anyone except the prospective client him/herself.

    Perhaps I'm a pessimist, but REALISTICALLY I don't think there's much that can be done. You can explain your situation to the iARDC, but it would be up to them to do anything. And yes, the current attorney probably wasn't happy about that call (I mean, it equals lost business), so no surprise from me that he billed your husband.

    Sorry this happened, but consider having your husband do the legwork from now on.

  2. Christine C McCall

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . A small claims action against the attorney you interviewed may be successful. I would try it.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice.... more
  3. Megan Elizabeth Zavieh

    Contributor Level 7

    Answered . It seems quite improper that the contingency lawyer called the hourly attorney, but it is the hourly attorney's prerogative to charge for the time he spends on the matter. Given that you are working on replacing him, I can see why he might be loathe to cut you a break on the bill. That being said, your facts tend to indicate that you did not tell the hourly lawyer to speak to potential new counsel that you were interviewing. If that is correct, then I would call your hourly attorney and point out that you (or your husband) did not give authorization for him to speak to new counsel about the matter, so there never should have been a conversation even if the contingency attorney called. The hourly lawyer should have spent no more than one minute stating that he is not authorized to speak about your (or your husband's) case and that should have been the end of it. Thus, there should be no $100 charge.

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