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I hired an attorney and he never gave me a written contract and now he is keeping my bond money

Chicago, IL |

I hired an attorney and he did not give me a written contract or fee agreement. After the case was over he kept the entire amount of the bond when he was only suppose to keep a portion. What options do I have to get my money returned and to report him for not even giving me a bill to prove what he kept the money for.

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Attorney answers 3


When the underlying case is a criminal case, the defense attorney has to wait until the bond money is refunded before collecting a fee. Generally that means that he was not paid up front. The client in a criminal case signs a document and acknowledge the arrangement for the payment of the bond money.

It is certainly good practice to have a signed written retainer contract or engagement letter. However, you will be at a disadvantage if you did not ask for these documents up front, now that the work has been finished, I think, honestly.

Have you asked the attorney, in writing, for a detailed bill to show how the money was applied in your case? You should also ask for a copy of any documents that you signed relating to the bond. Keep a copy of any letter you sent.

These are the first steps. If you are still dissatisfied, you should speak to a second lawyer and go over all the facts of your retention of the attorney. For the arrangement with the second lawyer, if you hire one, get that arrangement down in writing this time...hope this helps.

The information provided here should not be construed to be formal legal advice. The provision of this general advice does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Persons with legal questions are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.



Yes I have asked for a detailed bill or summary of charges and he has completed ignored all phone calls and letters. Ironically I did hire a second attorney (got a written retainer agreement this time) in 2010 and that attorney has yet to yield any type of results or even get a response from the other attorney.


You attorney kept the bond money after you apparently signed a cash bond refund to him. This was in lieu of the contract or separate fee agreement you refer to. If you wish to receive a bill for services rendered, ask your attorney. Since your case is over, it appears that your attorney concluded it successfully and he is entitled to be paid. If you are dissatisfied, hire a second attorney to help you recoup what you feel you are owed.


The form for a return of the bond money was an agreement. Did you put on the form that all of your money would go to the attorney, or only specify part of it should be returned to him? If only part was to be returned to him, the rest should be sent back to the posting party.

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