I recently relieved my lawyer of their services and they are now charging me $200 to transfer files and paperwork over to my new attorney. I initially paid $600 dollars up front. He told me he reviews cases for $200 and charges $200 each court visit. He has reviewed my case and charged me for 1 court visit leaving me with 1 extra court visit he has not yet attended. He now wants to take the extra $200 and charge me for sending over paperwork to the new attorney. How does Chicago's regulations pertain to this situation? Can he charge me that amount of money? Can he take the money that he hasn't yet earned?
There are no specific regulations for transfer of file except that the file can be withheld if fees are owing and if there would be no compromise to the case. If the attorney incurs expenses, then the attorney can charge. However, there should be no real cost for allowing the new attorney to pick up the file. You have no indicated what sort of case you have, but the fees charges by this lawyer appear to be not only reasonable, but very low.
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There is a large amount of discretion when it comes to attorneys charging fees for their services. Depending on the case file and other factors, it might take your prior lawyer some time to transfer the files, thus justifying a $200 charge. It wouldn't hurt to express your concerns with your attorney, however, $600 for a case review and a court appearance is a very reasonable fee in Chicago.
There's a case that few attorneys (Maybe I'm being jaded) bother reading that sets the boundaries of what is, and what isn't reasonable. It's good law, meaning the judge's apply it in Illinois fee disputes. It's Kaiser
v. MEPC American Properties, Inc., 164 Ill. App. 3d 978, 984 (1987). Read it, it's a very interesting case.
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