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I was asked to sign an attorney fee agreement with no arbitration clause. It is assignable, & I wanted to understand process.

Encino, CA |

I am to sign a percentage, contingency agreement & in the brief agmt I saw no Arbitration clause or any other clause about handling disputes. In agmt, it says when I pay the % of my gross incoming income (for the duration of the royalties, so it could be indefinitely), I pay the fees to my attorney, his assigns, successors & heirs. (The atty says he’s not incorporated, so he does it this way to his heirs, as it is similar to being incorp, which would have survived him.) With the potential for my fees & enforcement of the agmt going to a 3rd party, what if my atty stops practicing, or assigns agmt, which is likely as he is older? Can I still participate in Bar Arb I was entitled to before? if he unilaterally makes this change and a 3rd party is enforcing the agmt and getting royalties?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

You would have a right to the State Bar's mandatory fee arbitration program regardless.

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3 lawyers agree

Posted

This is way to complex to analyze without seeing the agreement. The client has a right to fee arbitration probably can't be waived, but this appears to be quite unusual. Percentage of gross incoming income and the relation of that amount to "royalties" is very unclear. It shouldn't take more than an hour or two for a lawyer to review the agreement and reply in detail to your concerns and seek clarifications from the attorney who may represent you, if necessary.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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5 lawyers agree

Posted

Sorry you should take the agreement to another attorney, way to complex to give you any advice, I do agree with my colleague above that you are entitled to Mandatory Fee Arbitration with the Cal. State Bar regardless of retainer.

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