State Bar of California mandatory fee arbitration section.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
You have a fee dispute with this attorney. Most county bar associations have a Client Services department where you can get information on commencing a mandatory fee arbitration against the attorney. The State Bar of California also has a mandatory fee arbitration program. Make contact with one of these organizations and proceed.
If you prefer, you can also sue the attorney in court seeking a declaration that no money is owed (if you have not paid yet) or a judgment seeking return of the money already paid.
Unless you can prove that the attorney's conduct fell below the standard of care of attorneys in the community, and that such conduct actually caused you to lose substantial rights (i.e., money) then it is unlikely you can make a claim for malpractice. Furthermore, given the amount of money involved, attempting to prove malpractice is impractical.
Good luck to you.
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There are two ways to deal with this.
1. Write to the attorney, explain your concerns, and ask for a refund. Sent it via certified letter.
2. Contact the Fee Arbitration committee. This committee handles fee disputes. You can find more information here
For a free consultation related to medical malpractice, personal injury, workers' compensation, social security disability or nursing home abuse, please contact Lowenthal & Abrams, PC at 1-800-876-5299. I am licensed in Pennsylvania, but members of my firm are licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. This post is not legal advice, but instead contains general educational information. Please do not act or refrain from acting based upon what you read in this post. Also please remember that this post does not form an attorney/client relationship between you and me. If you have specific legal questions, you should contact an attorney in your state for assistance. I am licensed to practice law in the state of Pennsylvania.