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How can i get my lawyer to refund my retainer or even call me back

Brea, CA |

i hired my lawyer in Nov 2011 & since then he hasn't worked my case at all . In the meantime the case i wanted him to help me with has already gone to final distribution & he never filed any paperwork for me in this matter so i am probably completely out on this case . But he's never furnished me any monthly billing as stated on my contract & he won't return my calls & now his phone number is out of order so i can't even reach him and in the meantime he took my $ 2 , 500 . 00 retainer & took off

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Attorney answers 1


There are always a number of ways of doing things, but if I were in your shoes, I would start by first reassessing what your goals presently are in wake of all that has transpired since you initially retained the attorney. Have your goals changed? Does your present attorney know it?

Second, I would try my best to get a face-to-face meeting with your present attorney. In that face-to-face meeting you have two goals: (1) acquire all of the pertinent information about the status of your present matter; (2) find out if you and your current attorney can reconcile his/her handling of your case. At one time, you hired this person because you thought they could best handle your matter. Now, you are second-guessing yourself. Instead of giving up, have the meeting to reassess the representation.

Finally, if you decide to move on, determine who will be handling the matter moving forward. Is it yourself, or a new attorney? Then review the terms of your contract with your former attorney. During that review, you should be looking for an explicit termination and refund process. While you have the right to terminate your attorney at-will and a return of all unearned fees, you are typically best served by following the process outlined in your attorney-client fee agreement.

Then, either follow the steps provided in the agreement or draft and send a concise, to the point, termination letter. The letter is not another chance for you to gripe - rather, that is what the face-to-face meeting was all about. Rather, the sole purpose of this termination letter is to expedite the transfer of your matter to another representative and the return of unearned fees. If you are presently in litigation, the letter should explain how you plan to inform opposing counsel and the tribunal of your change in representation. Finally, the letter should communicate to the attorney a reasonable date by which they are required to comply. While the termination can be communicated by any method, we recommend sending via certified, registered, or priority mail.