Can I get my fee reimbursed if the attorney didn't complete what i asked of him?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Virginia Beach, VA

I hired an attorney to help me get my name changed, the purpose was to attain a new Birth Certificate. I was born in Puerto Rico and the attorney is here in Virginia Beach where I now live. I was recently told that he it was NOT in his jurisdiction to do what he charged me for. His fee was $500.00. which is a massive amount on my income.

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Mark Westerfield

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . A Virginia attorney who accepts an assignment for a client should have a written agreement which states the precise work that will be performed and, in a situation such as yours, the fee you paid should have been deposited into the attorney's trust account until the work has been completed.

    Based on the information you provided, it is difficult to determine how much work the lawyer may have performed on your behalf. (I can imagine scenarios where he feels as though he performed the work you requested and therefor is entitled to payment for his time.) If this assignment is something which this attorney cannot do, it seems to me that a full refund is warranted. As I mentioned, the full payment which you made should have been placed in the attorney's trust account.

    I suggest that you sit down with your lawyer, express your concerns and ask for your money back. If that discussion does not result in an agreement, another option is to contact the Virginia State Bar and speak with them about the situation. In my experience, most lawyers would rather refund $500 to a client rather than spend a lot of time explaining the situation with the Virginia Bar.

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