I paid my lawyer 1500 $ for him to pre file on a criminal threat charge I thought was going to be filed on me. So this lawyer was telling me over and over again before I hired him " you can either sit and wait for cops to knock on your door or higher a lawyer to pre-file your case to prevent them from charging me" but once I hired him and paid him 1500$ he all of sudden changed his idea to " we should wait on pre-filING because I don't want to bring up your case from the bottom of the pile" so I thought that was strange but listened to him anyway. Few months have passed and I don't think I will be getting charged, but my thing is that he literally did nothing when I paid him
I paid him for pre filing and he didn't do pre filing based off what he told me . I asked him yo either refund me the whole amount or at least a partial amount or help me get off probation early by filing a motion for early termination . Now he is ignoring me. Do I have a right to bring him to court if he doesn't work with me like he should ...my hands are really tied I feel like I have to make some sort of action . He shouldn't be able to just walk away with my 1500 when he did literally NOTHING for me..
I think we've already answered your question. The first thing you need to determine is what your written agreement with the lawyer says about refunding your retainer, and whether fee disputes are subject to arbitration. "Pre filing" could include investigation, discovery and research and it's possible that a reasonably complex case to run through $1,500. But if in fact your lawyer took your money and did nothing -- and that's the way it appears -- you should contact the State Bar to begin a complaint, and send a written demand to your lawyer, mentioning that (if arbitration isn't required) you can take him to small claims court for a judgment if he does not respond.
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I'd like to see your fee agreement and your request for a refund. Have you requested a refund of unearned fees?
SAN DIEGO CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY--20 years experience
Was this a true retainer (availability retainer - payment for availability of legal services)? Then no. True retainers are non-refundable.
If no, did the attorney work on the case that equaled the amount you paid for the retainer, then no.
If no, did the attorney just never do any work or didn't do work that was quantitatively worth the amount paid? You may be entitled to a return of the unused retainer that was not spent.
The above statement should not be construed as legal advice, does not create an attorney-client relationship, and is provided purely for informational purposes. You are advised to seek legal advice from an attorney and NOT AN UNLICENSED PARALEGAL SERVICE for any legal questions you have.
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