How much will it cost me to fire my lawyer?
5 attorney answers
You can change lawyers at any time. If he places a lien on the case you or your new attorney can always discuss/dispute the lien and try to reach an agreement for the work done on the case. However, because of your attorney's failure to respond to your calls, I can't see him/her fighting you too much on a lien. Communication is important.
The answer above is only based upon the limited information provided. The answer is limited and my review is likewise limited, and thus the response is not intended to be acted upon as legal advice. Although licensed in numerous states, I am currently only licensed to practice law in the state of Nevada. No attorney-client relationship is formed until you sign an attorney-client agreement with my office. Any information provided is for discussion purposes only and there is no attorney-client relationship formed. Only general legal information is provided. Each case is unique and accurate legal advise would require review of all details and documents for each specific case. It is possible that the comments here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate.
An attorney at law shall have a lien upon any claim, demand or cause of action, including any claim for unliquidated damages, which has been placed in his hands by a client for suit or collection, or upon which a suit or other action has been instituted. The lien is for the amount of any fee which has been agreed upon by the attorney and client. In the absence of an agreement, the lien is for a reasonable fee for the services which the attorney has rendered for the client on account of the suit,18.015, the court must make certain findings and conclusions before distribution. Its findings should include the following:
• Whether the attorney may utilize NRS 18.015 to obtain the fees claimed. See Harvey L. Lerer, Inc. v. District Court, 111 Nev. 1165, 1168, 901 P.2d 643, 646 (1995) (concluding that “NRS 18.015 is inapplicable to purely inter-attorney disputes ․ which are not predicated on an attorney/ client fee agreement”);
• Whether the amount claimed by the lien stems from a judgment or settlement. See NRS 18.015(1); see also Figliuzzi, 111 Nev. at 342, 890 P.2d at 801 (recognizing that an attorney cannot use NRS 18.015 to enforce an attorney lien if the attorney “has not obtained a settlement or judgment” for the client);
• Whether the lien is enforceable: some are not. See, e.g., Van Cleave v. Osborne, Jenkins, & Gamboa, 108 Nev. 885, 887, 840 P.2d 589, 591 (1992) (concluding that a firm's attorney lien was unenforceable against its former client's settlement after the firm entered into a consent judgment with the former client in a malpractice dispute);
• Whether the attorney lien has been properly perfected according to NRS 18.015(2), which provides that “[a]n attorney perfects his lien by serving notice in writing, in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested, upon his client and upon the party against whom his client has a cause of action, claiming the lien and stating the interest which he has in any cause of action”;
• Whether there are any setoffs reducing the net amount subject to the attorney lien. See Muije v. North Las Vegas Cab, 106 Nev. 664, 799 P.2d 559 (1990) (concluding that a defendant's setoff was superior to an attorney lien where the district court had awarded the defendant an amount for having offered to settle for more than the plaintiff's jury verdict under NRS 17.115(4)(b));
• In extraordinary circumstances, whether equitable factors might affect the net judgment or the priority of the attorney lien. See, e.g., Rios v. Mireles, 937 P.2d 840 (Colo.Ct.App.1996) (concluding that, under Colorado's attorney lien statute, a child support garnishment has priority over an attorney lien); and
After calculating the amount due to the attorney under the lien, the court may then distribute to the attorney his or her share and discharge the attorney from the interpleader action.5claim, demand or action.
2. An attorney perfects his lien by serving notice in writing, in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested, upon his client and upon the party against whom his client has a cause of action, claiming the lien and stating the interest which he has in any cause of action.
3. The lien attaches to any verdict, judgment or decree entered and to any money or property which is recovered on account of the suit or other action, from the time of service of the notices required by this section.
4. On motion filed by an attorney having a lien under this section, his client or any party who has been served with notice of the lien, the court shall, after 5 days’ notice to all interested parties, adjudicate the rights of the attorney, client or ot
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It should not cost you anything to fire your lawyer. However your present lawyer may put a lien on any proceeds from your case. This could be based on a percentage of any settlement offer that has been made or based on the work the lawyer has done on the case so far. Oftentimes, the lien is absorbed by the new lawyer. I'd be happy to discuss your situation with you. Feel free to call me at 702-823-3333.
Anyone can fire their lawyer at any time (at no penalty) simply by sending a termination letter. Find a lawyer with a low contingency fee, less than 30%, so you get the lion's share of the settlement, not the lawyer.
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