Sounds bad. Real bad. Put all of this in writing to your existing attorney, and cc: the Court. with CM/RRR so you're sure s/he sees it and formulates some pointed questions for your Attorney.
I disagree with the comment of the other attorney, regarding the ability of one attorney to speak with the client of another. If you approach them, seeking to fully exercise and assert your rights, I do not believe they violate a disciplinary rule in speaking to you. For them to go further than that wihout a withdrawal and substitution would be a problem for them.
It is certainly the case that speaking as an attorney to a party who is adverse to an existing client of your own, when you know that party to be represented. is prohibited. It is less clear cut when the "other attorney" is not adverse to the client. It happens all the time on the criminal defense side of the bar. We often represent other people's clients (fill in for the atty of record). If we violated a disciplinary rule by doing so, we would rapidly de-populate the municipal and JP courthouses around here.
Again, you should certainly inform your current attorney of your intention to seek out other counsel and their advice. That will put a little fire to his/er feet, as well. We are hearing only your side of the story. There is another side. Whether that story is meritorious or not cannot be ascertained by what you have said so far.
There is no easy answer to the questions you are asking. My suggestions are just the first steps in that unhappy process. Get them to talk to you. $25K is a lot of money. that should buy some access. Getting it back won't be made easier by firing them without saying you are thinking about it, first.
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$25,000 is a lot of money for legal representation. You deserve attention. The truth is that your freedom, your future, and the outcome of this case is more important than the money. You can worry about, attempt to get this money back from that attorney at a later date. You are free to hire any attorney you like. If you are unhappy with your representation, there are many great attorneys in Houston that can give you top notch representation.
You may contest the fees in court. Also, there should have been some sort of agreement when the lawyer accepted your case. This is generally required in order to maintain your malpractice/liability insurance. Get everything in writing. As for having another attorney provide advice, your current attorney will need to sign off on that.
The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are interested in his legal services, feel free to call Lee toll free at (800) 241-0272 at his law firm. All initial consultations are free of charge.
What kind of case is it? You paid someone $25,000 with no contract whatsoever in place??
I am a criminal defense attorney practicing in San Antonio, Texas. The above information is not a substitution for a meeting whereas all potential legal issues can be discussed.The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client relationship as this forum does not provide for a confidential communication.