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What can one do when one hires an attorney who doesn't do what they ask him, yet he bills huge fees for interoffice conferences

Chicago, IL |

We hired an attorney to help us with some trust issues - one of which was time sensitive. They did nothing - in fact, they didn't bill us for four months, in spite of many repeated requests for the bills. Then, when we told them to stop their services, they sent us a bill for $24,000. What can we do?

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Attorney answers 1


Your concern deals with a lawyer's professional responsibilities which are governed by rules promulgated by the Illinois Supreme Court. Rule 1.5(a) requires a lawyer's fee to be reasonable, based on a number of factors. Additionally, Rule 1.4 requires a lawyer to "keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information." Finally, Rule 1.3 requires a lawyer to act with reaonable dilligence and promptness in representing a client.

In your case, it seems that the attorneys in question did not act with reasonable promptness nor did they keep you reasonably informed of the matter since you didn't get any response to repeated requests for a bill or some statement of account. I don't know enough information to opine on the reasonableness of the bill, but that may be an issue as well.

I would recommend calling the agency responsible for looking into Illinois lawyer complaints, the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC). The ARDC's website can be found at Write them a detailed letter about what happened (including names and dates) and send it to the address on the website. They will be able to further assist you.

NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

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