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Refusing to pay remaining balance of atty fees and requesting refund of my initial retainer – an Honest opinion is welcome

Orlando, FL |

I hired a tax atty to represent me. In my initial consult, I made it clear on the importance of filing the documents by no later than March. The Attorney confirmed the case will be filed no later than March. The case was filed in late April with no response to my calls since February. I received letters that don’t apply to my case, requesting documents and not doing anything with them for at least 3 months. He forgot to respond to IRS appeals letters. He missed an appeals meeting with the IRS, so forth so on. When the time came to really deliver the final position paper to the IRS officer, he suggested that I should drop the case that I believe and file for bankruptcy. Not only as an attorney he has violated all his duties to me as a client, he became reckless by advising to file bankruptcy without any due diligence or at least a consult to find out if I am a candidate. I assume just to get another retainer.
I fired the attorney and demanded my initial monies since his contract calls for two specific things: “I will pursue your case aggressively”, “Our policy is to provide our clients with good and competent service”
Is this a competent service? where he missed every deadline in the book? He wants to sue me for the remainder of the balance. I also checked the county where he practices; he is currently suing 9 of his former clients. Is this good business? Please advice. I rather spend good money and invest in a good atty to fight this case than pay him. He wants to silence me with a law suit. It is sad how far some attorneys can go just to protect incompetence.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

Agree with Mr. Davis. Your attorney's conduct appears to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, particularly Rule 4-1.3 "Diligence" which states "A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client". The explanatory comment to this rule (see link #1 below) indicates the conduct you describe is within this rule.

The second link is the link to the Florida Bar website which has a FAQ and complaint form you can download, fill out and submit with explanatory attachments.

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Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz


The first link should be this:


I would report the attorney to the Florid Bar- I do not suggest this lightly. If your allegations are accurate, this attorney has violated several rules regulating the conduct of Florida attorneys.


I agree with the other attorneys that you should file a grievance with the Florida Bar. However, I don't believe that will get your initial retainer returned or necessarily deal with the outstanding balance. For that purpose, I would suggest you contact the Bar's statewide fee arbitration program, which is available to try to resolve fee disputes. Information regarding the fee arbitration program may be obtained by calling (866) 352-0707.

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