I RECEIVED THE SIGNED RETAINER BUT NOTICED IT WAS NOT THE ATTORNEY WHO I HIRED SIGNATURE ON THE DOCUMENT. THIS PERSON IS NOT LOCATED ON THE CALBAR.ORG WEBSITE, SO I AM THINKING THIS PERSON IS NOT AN ATTORNEY. IS THE RETAINER BINDING AND VALID?
Have you already signed the agreement? If so, who did it list as the attorney(s) that was going to represent you? You have a right to ask the attorney or law firm about your concern and if it doesn't give you an adequate answer you may want to reconsider having it represent you.
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If the contract is between you and the attorney for legal work, then the attorney must sign the retainer agreement. If the retainer agreement lists one person on the retainer and someone other than an attorney signed the agreement but is not an attorney then the retainer agreement is not valid.
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One ambiguity in your post is whether the lawyer that you retained is a member of a law firm. If so, and subject to any limitations in the agreement itself, the firm has the right to assign tasks to other members of the firm, including representation of you in court.
So, if you have retained a law firm, the agreement can be signed by any member of the firm. But it must be signed by an attorney, and if the person who signed is not an attorney, I would be concerned.
As for the "binding" nature of the agreement, that is a tricky term. For one thing, you always have the right to fire your lawyer (or law firm) as a matter of public policy, at any time and for any reason, or no reason at all.
So the real question is: what do you want to do? If you want "out" of the agreement, you can have it regardless of the authority of the person who signed. If you want to stay with this lawyer or firm, you should ask about the person who signed the agreement, whether he/she is an attorney, and inquire as to who will be representing you.
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