Based on a recommendation, i hired a lawyer to represent me in my civil lawsuit. I told her cost was a huge factor and he told me we have a good chance of winning and filed motions but the judge ruled against me. I ended up spending money traveling to Atlanta, GA for matters related to the lawsuit. For the first month my lawyer billed me $15,000 and the second month, she has billed me $25,000. We haven't made any progress in my case. she never told me at any time the costs involved. We are going to trial soon. I don't have the ability to pay the legal fees incurred thus far much less the fees for trial. I have withdrawn my lawyer to represent me and she wants to get paid and wants at least $25,000. I may have to file for bankruptcy. What are my options to oppose and lower this lawyer fee?
Although it will not help you with your civil case, and that case apparently needs to be attended to, you do have a free option to try and resolve whether the fee the lawyer has billed you is fair and appropriate. The State Bar of Georgia has a fee arbitration program that is available at no charge to the client. If the case meets the criteria of the program and the case is accepted, your fee dispute would be heard by two attorneys and one lay person. If the lawyer agrees to participate and be bound by the decision, the program is a reasonable way to resolve the fees. Having sat on several cases in the arbitration program as an arbitrator, and also having participated as an attorney, my view is that the program is fair to both sides. I have seen cases decided for the client and legal fees have been directed to be returned, and I have seen cases where the attorney is awarded what was billed. Other cases came down somewhere in the middle. The arbitrators do their best to be fair to both sides, and the program can be quite helpful when fees appear out of line. For more information, check the State Bar of Georgia web site at http://gabar.org/programs/fee_arbitration/fee_arbitration_frequently_asked_questions/
Go the Georgia Bar Fee Arbitration Program Question and Answer Section. I've provided a link.
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