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How do I know if I've paid an attorney too much money? Does he have to return any unearned money back to me?

Columbus, GA |

My attorney hasn't done any work for me other than bring me a plea offer from the DAs office. I was told by Georgia bàr that when I dismiss him to do so in writing asking for my file and any unearned money.

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Attorney answers 3


Did you sign a contract with the attorney. Some cases are flat fee cases so the money may be earned when paid, but of course work has to be performed. The State Bar has a fee dispute program. I would write to the attorney and either dismiss him or ask him to contact you because you are not happy with the services. Ask him what is the status of your unused retainer and when that will be returned. If you are not happy then contact the bar and file a complaint.

This is not intended to create an attorney client relationship and none is to be implied either. You must contact an attorney and present all facts before you can and should act on this response


You won't know, and it does no good to speculate, until you contact your lawyer directly to discuss and get a copy of his statement. If you have a criminal matter, you obviously need another lawyer so if you make a change the new lawyer might review the bill.


Find a copy of your signed fee agreement and review it, there should be clear terms. If you don't understand it then bring it along with you when you have an initial consultation with a new lawyer and have them review it.

Best of luck

There is NO attorney-client privilege based on this interaction. I am NOT your attorney. We have no signed engagement letter with a clear understanding regarding fees. Further, everything we both just wrote is publicly available on the internet and would be the same as if we were talking in a crowded restaurant, there are many witnesses looking over your shoulder and can repeat anything you write here. If you need legal assistance use Avvo to find a local attorney in your jurisdiction that you feel can best represent your interests as a zealous advocate. My experience is in corporate tax, white collar criminal defense, partnership tax, and tax controversy/litigation. If you're being audited by the IRS or state taxing authority, or you are taking an unusually risky tax position on a return, that is the kind of thing you should have experienced counsel on your side and we can set up an initial consultation. If you have a family law, debt collection, violent crime sort of issue then I do not handle that. Do not contact me for an initial consultation on non-tax matters.

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