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My attorney never billed me monthly even tho I asked many times. I just found he was on ineligible list to practice too. Now ?

Piscataway, NJ |

This is a case for a post divorce settlement agreement. It was just a motion to the judge, but has now dragged out for almost 2 years! Still have not seen a judge and we are going on to a 3rd one now! I gave my attorney $3000 retainer fee and then $5000 more 2 months later with no detailed bills. Now he wants almost $12, 000 more! The bill he gave me does not document each thing done and at what cost. He charges $350 per hr. I had asked him over the past 2 years for a billing. He would just say, ok, I'll get on it.. but never did. Now, he wants it all in a big lump sum, and says he has refrained from billing me 18% per annum as yet. I want to fire him. I found out that he was on the Ineligible list to practice for not paying into the 2 funds in 2007 which NJ attorneys must pay to practice. He was still going to court and practicing anyhow! If I fire him, I will have no money to retain another attorney and I hear a trial date has been set for Sept. 11th. He has not even informed me of this. I heard it from my son. What would happen if I fire him now and have no attorney for the case? Would my ex sue me for his attorney's fees? I'm so upset. And I can't and won't give my lawyer $12,000 more for my case. I want to file a grievance against him. But what about my case? I don't know what to do... He'll probably sue me for all this money he says I owe him.. Geez, this was just a motion for back alimony from my ex for breaking our divorce settlement agreement.. Any answers please?

I finally ended this whole thing by way of a settlement on 9/11/08. The other side agreed to a mere $25,000. I just wanted to get away from my attorney and end this nightmare. He drew up the agreement right there in court that day and we all signed. I only noticed later, he had put in that all checks would be written to him as attorney for me! He had just billed me $12,000 prior. He double billed and it was vague.. I wanted a revised bill but instead he simply took $8000 out of 1st check he received on Oct 1 08. Sent me a ck for $2000 with a note!! Is this legal? I intended to pay by credit card which he does accept for payments. I am now receiving my checks thru probation enforcement since the ex motioned the court for this when I informed him that this is no longer my attorney. My dog was dying of cancer and I was mentally a wreck so I have not contacted anyone concerning what this attorney did.. Any ideas on this matter? Me Again..Thanx

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Attorney answers 2


If he is ineligible to practice, then he is defrauding you. You should contact bar grievence counsel to see if he can be disbarred for handling your case while suspended. If not then bar counsel should take on the grievence for the failure to bill you properly. If you sue or instigate a grievence against your attorney and it is a viable grievence and not frivolous, the court will give you some time to get a new lawyer. I know you indicated you are out of money, but you should have a lawyer who has your best interest at heart and who you trust. It seems the present attorney will not have you in mind if he is angry that he is not paid.

Finally the court usually will give you a fair amount of time to get a new lawyer and then give the lawyer time to get up on the facts and law of your case. You should ask for at least 2 months to find the right guy. Make sure he either flat fee bills you or he sends monthly bills out the door, before you give him any money up front. Demand that if you are being billed hourly that your funds be segregated from his funds until they are used and a bill with time installments has been sent to you

Good Luck.


I am very sorry you are having so many difficutlies with your attorney. Attorney fees in New Jersey are subject to mandatory fee arbitration. You are in Middlesex County, here is a link for more information on fee arbitration WIth respect to your attorney continuing to practice while on the ineligible list you should contact the Office of Attorney Ethics in Trenton for further advise.

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