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What if a lawyer charges money to write a letter on your behalf to a defendant that is 100% counterproductive and then refuses

Los Angeles, CA |

to refund the money? A letter full of false and inaccurate statements coming out of pure fantasy of the lawyer (and lack of study of the case/notes taking during consultation etc...) and with laws and regulations citations that give the defendant every right to keep doing whatever they are doing (basically telling the defendant is right) which was preposterously enough the only reason why the plaintiff asked for the help of a lawyer in the first place? If the lawyer refuses to refund the money, which are the most important organizations to file a complaint?

Attorney Answers 3


State Bar of California mandatory fee arbitration section.

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 terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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You have a fee dispute with this attorney. Most county bar associations have a Client Services department where you can get information on commencing a mandatory fee arbitration against the attorney. The State Bar of California also has a mandatory fee arbitration program. Make contact with one of these organizations and proceed.

If you prefer, you can also sue the attorney in court seeking a declaration that no money is owed (if you have not paid yet) or a judgment seeking return of the money already paid.

Unless you can prove that the attorney's conduct fell below the standard of care of attorneys in the community, and that such conduct actually caused you to lose substantial rights (i.e., money) then it is unlikely you can make a claim for malpractice. Furthermore, given the amount of money involved, attempting to prove malpractice is impractical.

Good luck to you.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.

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Is it legal for the lawyer to send out the letter to the defendant full of counterproductive lies about the plaintiff without letting the plaintiff even read the letter?

Neil Pedersen

Neil Pedersen


Is it legal? Yes, it is not a violation of the law. Is it malpractice? A far more complicated question that can only be answered after many facts and circumstances are studied.


There are two ways to deal with this.

1. Write to the attorney, explain your concerns, and ask for a refund. Sent it via certified letter.
2. Contact the Fee Arbitration committee. This committee handles fee disputes. You can find more information here

Good luck.

For a free consultation related to medical malpractice, personal injury, workers' compensation, social security disability or nursing home abuse, please contact Lowenthal & Abrams, PC at 1-800-876-5299. I am licensed in Pennsylvania, but members of my firm are licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. This post is not legal advice, but instead contains general educational information. Please do not act or refrain from acting based upon what you read in this post. Also please remember that this post does not form an attorney/client relationship between you and me. If you have specific legal questions, you should contact an attorney in your state for assistance. I am licensed to practice law in the state of Pennsylvania.

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