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Can a lawyer sues his client for non payment?

San Jose, CA |

i had made an appointment with an attorney to find out what would it cost to hire her services as a corporate attorney with a business i might get involved. and she told me before she can quote me a price she has to get mi signature. next thing i receive a bill for over $5000 stating that was her retainer money. i told her that i did not get involved with that business and do not owe her anything. she has threaten to sue me. can she do that and how much she can get from me?

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Attorney answers 3


Your question is a bot confusing. Did you sign something? If so, then, you can be sued for acting or not acting appropriately per the terms of the document.

Now, a lawyer CAN sue you for non-payment of fees. However, under CA law, before they do so, they MUST offer to go to attorney-client fee arbitration first. If they try to sue before the demand for arbitration, and sue anyway, you can file a motion to force to go to arbitration. Additionally, if the lawyer sues/goes to arbitration, you will want to hire a lawyer so that you are protected in the area. If you never signed anything or told the suing lawyer you wanted to hire her, then she will be in a tight spot.

Contact a local lawyer, bring ALL communications from the old lawyer with you. Bring an 'un-executed' copy of her retainer as well. Do not wait too long, or you may just get sued. It is possible that a demand letter from the new attorney may stop the other lawyer in her tracks.

Adam Jaffe Law Office of Adam Jay Jaffe 124 Lomas Santa Fe Dr, #204 Solana Beach, CA 92075 (619) 810-7964 This posting is provided for “information purposes” only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice". Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principles discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different states.


What did you sign? Was there a no refundable retainer included in the attorney client agreement? Usually an attorney is only entitled to be paid for work completed unless there is a non refundable retainer. However, some courts may void this portion of the contract if no work is done or if something is misrepresented to you.

Disclaimer- The information you obtain at our web-site or through postings on such sites as” are not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for specific advice regarding your individual situation. Any response given here is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.


Did you sign a Retainer Agreement or other agreement for services? Did the attorney provide any services. She may be entitled to payment for any services provided. You may want to call the State Bar.

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