Asked over 1 year ago - Perth Amboy, NJFlag
I bought a used car for $32,000.00. The next day we found a major problem in the car and reported to the dearler.
Two weeks later dealer declared in bankruptcy. My lawyer sued the bank loaner, they failed to inspect the car before the release of the loan. He asked us to continue making the monthly payments.
Two years and a half later, after paid more than $19,000.00, my lawyer settled with the bank and sent me a check for $12,000.00 with a note explaining me that this was the part that belong to me from the settlement.
Settlement check is made out to both the party and the attorney. I never saw that check. It was something wrong? How can I get a copy of the settlement document and check?
My lawyer do not answer any more my phone calls neither emails...
You should post your question under another category because it is appearing under the "Divorce" practice area. You'll probably get a response from a different part of the Avvo community by doing that.
It is impossible to tell if something is wrong from what you have stated. It depends on the retainer agreement you had and how the lawyer handled the accounting for these funds. You should contact the lawyer and tell them that you have concerns about the portion of the settlement which was paid to you and how he or she subtracted any costs and expenses along with his or her fee.
The lawyer should be willing to do this voluntarily. If not, an ethics complaint might be needed.
PS: Please mark this as a best answer if it is most helpful to you.
I'd leave the attorney a NICE message saying you're getting frustrated and have been advised to call Ethics, which you're reluctant to do. He'll probably call back quickly.
If he doesn't, go ahead and call Ethics - look on the judiciary website for the number of your local district office ( http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us ).
BTW, I sincerely doubt that he absconded with the funds - a law license is worth more than $19,000. If you were talking about $1.9 million, you might have cause to be more worried.
I agree that the attorney's actions do not sound ethical. Because we do not have all the facts, however, I agree that you should warn him first by telephone as well as by mail. Even when I receive my portion of a check separate from my client's, my practice is to call them in, even after they have carefully read the settlement agreement. I make a copy of my check and give it to them as well. They are completely entitled to be assured that I have done the right thing.
That is normal. The attorney has you endorse the check. In California the attorney then is required to put the check in his or her trust account. Then the attorney clears any liens on the money - maybe before his split maybe after - depending on the fee agreement. Then the attorney gives you your portion of the money. Thats the way it works.
Did you expect to put the entire amount in your account and then you cut the lawyer his fee? Not saying you wouldn't do that but on balance if that happened then attorney would loose his fee because many people would give the middle finger to the lawyer.
26,433 answers this week
2,679 professionals answering
Don't speak legalese? We define thousands of terms in plain English.Browse our legal dictionary