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If attorney doesn't represent you in bankruptcy after signing contract, does he have to return the whole retainer?

Andover, MA |

I gave him $1,500 and he only returned $1,000. I believe he should have sent the whole thing back. He broke the contract by saying he didn't want to do c. 13 cases anymore. That's what he gave me for a reason. We worked with him for a year and a half and he just left us. I found another attorney who represented us but I had to come up with an additional $1,000 for him to represent him. Can we report him to the Ethics Commission? He is in Andover, MA, and we are in NH.

Attorney Answers 3


This is fact-dependent: Since you have a new attorney, you may want to ask this question of your current attorney.

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I agree with my colleague, but also note that you worked with the first attorney for an entire year --he no doubt earned his fee of only $500.00 during that period of time.

No attorney-client relatonship is created in responding to this question, and advice provided is based solely on very limited facts presented, and therefore may not be correct. You are advised that it is always best to contact a competent and experienced with the practice of law in the county in which you reside, particularly as it relates to family law, child support, custody and visitation (a/k/a "parenting time") issues, including 209A abuse-prevention restraining orders (a/k/a "ROs" in legal-speak), regarding un-emancipated children, under the age of 22.

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Have your new bankruptcy attorney review the agreement you had with your former bankruptcy lawyer and all bills that he gave you. The question here is what services did the attorney provide you, the benefit you received and were his charges reasonable for the services he rendered to you. I suggest that you carefully review with your current bankruptcy exactly what services s/he will be providing you, the fees and fees you will be charged, and discusss your expectations and the result you want. And you should have a written Engagement Letter and Fee Agreement.

Don Adler
Attorney At Law
150 Merrimac Street, Suite 3
Newburyport, MA 01950
Tel: 978.462.6789
Fax: 978.965.4823

Practice limited to bankruptcy in the MA and NH Bankruptcy Courts

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