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If already hired a criminal defense lawyer, will another lawyer agree to a consultation?

Houston, TX |

I have paid a criminal defense lawyer full asking price and have heard no answers on the case and trial is around the corner, what do I do if the lawyer wont respond to me and provide me with updates, still no plea deal and it's been almost a year. Pretty much wiped out my account to pay the lawyer upfront for best representation possible, the charges are serious! Do you fire the lawyer even though time is running out, what about the $25k already paid for representation? I have no contract agreement with attorney and no detailed invoice.

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Attorney answers 5

Best Answer
Posted

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.

This answer is in the nature of general information only and does not constitute legal advice or the formation of an attorney-client relationship.

Asker

Posted

I am so glad you can understand my concern and frustration. I did not have that kind of money just sitting in my bank account; it took a lot of sweat and tears to raise that money in such a short period. I wanted to show the lawyer my seriousness for the best representation, although I was given the opportunity for a payment plan, I paid in full. Do you think I could possibility hire a lawyer who could not only defend this criminal case, but also hire the same lawyer to help get some of my money back? Is this even possible? I know I am asking for a miracle here…… I am stuck between a rock and a hard spot. Please let me know if you would rather discuss on the phone. Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

David R. Lee

David R. Lee

Posted

You would do better to hire specialists in each discipline. You may wind up - you're jumping the gun, now - suing your atty to get your $ back. Wouldn't it be better if you could just get them to "act right."? The Court is apt NOT to be understanding of any new atty's desire to get up to speed before your imminent jury setting. Write the letters and see what happens. Then go wild, file greivances, sue for malpractice/damages etc. if that's what suits you. Your chief concern is this upcoming trial, and the long term effect that a conviction there would have. You have urgent work to do. Get after it.

Asker

Posted

My concern in regards to writting a letter to the lawyer is upsetting the lawyer, getting on the lawyer's bad side is by all means what I was trying to avoid. I need the lawyer to fight! I am scared once I raise my concerns and complaints the lawyer will not fight as hard in trial! I will be careful and try to work this issue out as best as I can. I am sorry to continue on venting, but thank you for all of your help. It's an unfortunate situation.

Posted

Lawyers are barred by the rules of ethics to communicate with represented persons without the consent of the lawyer providing the representation. Either your retained lawyer must consent in writing for the communication to take place or you must terminate the relationship with that lawyer and show proof of such to the new lawyer before the new lawyer will take your case on and discuss the details with you.

Provided by the Law offices of Caryn S. Fennell, P.C. 770-479-0248 No attorney-client relationship is intended to be created through the comments provided on this website.

Mark W. Bennett

Mark W. Bennett

Posted

Nonsense. Ignorant twaddle. Read the rules. A client is free to consult with a new lawyer without the consent of the old lawyer. The new lawyer need not—indeed, must not, without the client's consent—reveal to the old lawyer that the client has done so.

Posted

$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.

Posted

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.

Mark W. Bennett

Mark W. Bennett

Posted

More nonsense. A client is free to consult with a new lawyer without the consent of the old lawyer. The new lawyer need not—indeed, must not, without the client's consent—reveal to the old lawyer that the client has done so. This is a common misconception among lawyers who don't know much about the ethical rules.

Posted

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.