Question i live in NYS, can a lawyer charge me a flat fee and then switch to hourly billing? i am suing him

Asked about 3 years ago - Rochester, NY

I hired an attorney to represent me on a day i had to appear in fam court, he had a scheduling conflict and he sent a letter to the court asking to reschedule. the court didn't respond so i had to go alone and represent myself and the judge ruled. i called the lawyers office and told him that his services were not needed because the just ruled without him being there, and he said he will switch to hourly billing, in my opinon that is a breech of contract because i signed to a flat fee and also all he did was send a letter to the cout thats it. so now he is adding all kinds of charges to an invoice including charging me for the initial consultation as "a client" and I already paid for the consultation! i am suing him in small claims court. do i have a strong case?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Matthew Charles Heerde

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . From what you say, it sounds like the attorney breached the retainer agreement. If you signed an agreement saying you'd pay him a flat fee to appear in court and he failed to do so, and the court ruled in his absence, you should be able to get part of your money back at least.

    Your retainer agreement should say something about the terms on which you can cancel the representation. Make sure you have all receipts and documentation, including court orders, the attorney's letter, when you go to small claims court.

    The advice offered in this answer is provided for reference purposes only and does not create an attorney client... more

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