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Attornies

Old 04-10-2007, 02:01 PM
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I've never really had any dealings with an attorney until I gave up and hired one in late January after the misses said there was nothing I could say or do to keep her from becoming my ex-misses!

When it looked like we were going to be able to work things out, I called the guy and asked if I could have the balance of my retainer refunded. He told me I couldn't, but I could use it for any other legal service he could provide.

I got my first statement from him last Thursday, and just opened it yesterday. Turns out he charged me $20 for the ten minutes he took to tell me I couldn't get the balance of my retainer back! I called his office for clarification yesterday, and he called me back today to explain things to me.

He will now be charging me another $20 to tell me why he charged me the first $20. In other words, if I had kept my mouth shut about the damm bill, I'd be $40 richer right now!

When I'm down to my last $20 worth of credit with that guy, maybe I'll see how many times I can cuss him in 10 minutes! LOL Either that or explain to him that I would have called him to let him know I saw some guy pouring gasoline on his office at 2AM, but I couldn't have afforded it!

Just wait until the next attorney buys a safe from me and wants me to deliver it. I'll tell them I charge $200 per hour, and they have to give me a $2,000 deposit up front. I'll start charging them the minute I begin to type their information into my computer, and I'll stop once I get their total bill figured up after getting back to my office having finished the delivery.

When they call me to question my returning the unused portion of their deposit, I'll put them on hold while I check their account information. By the time I am able to explain where their money went, they'll owe me an additional $200.

Hail far, why didn't I think of doing business like this before?
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Old 04-10-2007, 02:13 PM
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A guy called an attorney and asked, "I have two questions, how much do you charge?"

The attorney replied, "$150. What's you second question?"
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Old 04-10-2007, 02:44 PM
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TnFreebird.

I am an attorney in CT. I believe that is is improper (i.e. against the rules of professional conduct) for an attorney to take a retainer and keep any funds that exceed the time expended on a particular matter. The difference should be returned. Is there a written fee agreement?

Unfortunately the $20.00 charges for a phone call are par for the course when you are being charged hourly. I practice real estate and my charges are a flat fee based upon a real estate closing. I personally detest lawyers. They are the worst part of practicing law. Hourly billing is the worst part of working for a firm. That is why I work for myself.

The next time you need an attorney try to get a personal referral for a good (person) attorney. There are a few of us out here.

BTW, you ended up not needing the lawyer, that is good news??
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Old 04-10-2007, 03:00 PM
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fichtion - 4/10/2007 2:44 PM

TnFreebird.

I am an attorney in CT. I believe that is is improper (i.e. against the rules of professional conduct) for an attorney to take a retainer and keep any funds that exceed the time expended on a particular matter. The difference should be returned. Is there a written fee agreement?

Unfortunately the $20.00 charges for a phone call are par for the course when you are being charged hourly. I practice real estate and my charges are a flat fee based upon a real estate closing. I personally detest lawyers. They are the worst part of practicing law. Hourly billing is the worst part of working for a firm. That is why I work for myself.

The next time you need an attorney try to get a personal referral for a good (person) attorney. There are a few of us out here.

BTW, you ended up not needing the lawyer, that is good news??
LOL It remains to be seen whether or not I need the attorney for the reason I hired him!

He did require a $2,000 retainer which is non-refundable even if he does not use the entire amount. I must admit, I was having a very difficult day when I went to see him. It took me 2.8 hours ($560) to get through a simple Q&A session which would normally have taken less than an hour at that point. Man, when he handed me the paperwork showing how the wife and I would split our son, I came unglued. I basically retained him that very day because I didn't want to have to go through that again with another attorney!

He did tell me up front that he charges a minimum of $2,000 to handle a divorce, and even if all the retainer was not used, he would in fact keep it. Needless to say, this is my first dealing with a divorce attorney, and I hope he gets to earn the balance of that retainer doing something else other than representing me in a divorce.

Thanks for your input, and yes, there are attornies out there who are good people. I have dealt with several over the years during my normal course of business, but I was referred to this guy from a friend on her third divorce. I figured if anybody would know, she would!
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Old 04-10-2007, 03:02 PM
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She cannot keep the $$ if she did not earn it. If she could, she would not be telling you that you could apply it to other services. In CT she would have to return it.

BTW, divorce attorneys' are worse than PI attorneys.

In addition, your friend should stay away from the place where marriage licenses are issued.
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Old 04-10-2007, 03:17 PM
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fichtion,

I pulled a copy of the contract I have with my attorney, and it seems to be a bit ambiguous. Please don't take this as my asking for free legal advice, and please don't send me a bill!

I do have a good friend who is an attorney who hates "Lieyars" as he calls them, but he is out of the country right now. FWIW my contract reads like this: I agree as follows:

(1) To pay my said Attorney a retainer fee of Two Thousand and 00/100 ($2,000.00) Dollars. I understand this retainer fee must be paid in full in advance, and that no work will be done on my case until this retainer is paid in full. I further understand that this retainer fee is not refundable to me.

(2) I agree to pay my Attorney at the rate of Two Hundred ($200.00) Dollars per hour.

I'll skip to what seems to be the ambiguous part

(4) Any Attorney fee obtained in this case by my Attorney shall be credited to me or, if there is a credit balance, refunded to me.

How the heck can I question this guy about this without him charging me $200 per hour to do so?
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Old 04-10-2007, 03:44 PM
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Get him to join THT
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Old 04-10-2007, 03:54 PM
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Keep divorcing her till you get your monies worth.
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Old 04-10-2007, 03:57 PM
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The LAST time I used an attorney (yes, last, I hope) it was much more that $20 for 10 minutes. You got away cheap!!! I think $200 is probably as good a rate as you can get. And the retainer sounds right. We paid like 6 g's for an estate planning specialist to handle my parents end of life affairs. I think it probably saved us $$ in the long run cause the laws and regulations are so darn complicated and/or intentionally vague (hey, they're written by lawyers what do you expect) you can't decipher them without a subject matter specialist.

Can't you get a no-fault divorce or utilize a mediator or something? Good Luck!!!! Hope all works out well for you.
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Old 04-10-2007, 04:18 PM
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marker150 - 4/10/2007 3:44 PM

Get him to join THT
I'm going to do just that!

He and I actually met through the Hatteras owners forum as I have listed my 58 for sale. We started corresponding and I've offered to help him find whatever it is he's looking for in a liveaboard whether he wants mine or not.

We're going to get together within the next few weeks, and I'm going to move whatever he buys to Toronto for him later this summer. Shoud be a cool trip.

He has just recently retired as a big corporate lawyer, but he sure does seem like a good guy to me. Maybe he's just after me for my good looks and my superior boating skills! Either that or he saw a picture of the wife and is moving in on my territory!
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Old 04-10-2007, 04:20 PM
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Mist-Rest - 4/10/2007 3:54 PM

Keep divorcing her till you get your monies worth.
ROFLOL LMFAO

Yep, once may not be enough!
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Old 04-10-2007, 04:27 PM
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LI Sound Grunt - 4/10/2007 3:57 PM

The LAST time I used an attorney (yes, last, I hope) it was much more that $20 for 10 minutes. You got away cheap!!! I think $200 is probably as good a rate as you can get. And the retainer sounds right. We paid like 6 g's for an estate planning specialist to handle my parents end of life affairs. I think it probably saved us $$ in the long run cause the laws and regulations are so darn complicated and/or intentionally vague (hey, they're written by lawyers what do you expect) you can't decipher them without a subject matter specialist.

Can't you get a no-fault divorce or utilize a mediator or something? Good Luck!!!! Hope all works out well for you.
I don't think we would have a problem, at least on my side of the fence, with any of the monetary stuff. She's worked her butt off and is entitled to half our marital assets if it comes to that.

I just hope she doesn't try to keep me from my son by making good on earlier promises not to fight me for joint custody. I truly do hope things work out, but sometimes round pegs and square holes get in the way of progress.

$200 per hour is sorta on the high side of middle of the road around here from what I understand. I appreciate the time, effort, and expense associated with becoming an attorney, but I expect somebody to work when they ask me for money. Charging me $200 an hour to explain a billing process is not part of the deal in my opinion.

Yep, you know you are in trouble when you have to hire a lawyer to explain what your attorney has told you!
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Old 04-10-2007, 04:27 PM
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http://www.tbpr.org/Consumers/FeeDisputes.aspx
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Old 04-10-2007, 04:49 PM
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Goosedog - 4/10/2007 4:27 PM

http://www.tbpr.org/Consumers/FeeDisputes.aspx
Hey Goosedog,

Thanks for the link, I preshadit it!

BTW I was born in Durham, NC.
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Old 04-10-2007, 05:03 PM
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Best deal I ever got from an attorney was 30 years ago. Went into his office, slapped $20 on his desk, and said stop me when I've used this up. We talked for an hour and a half about my problem!
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Old 04-10-2007, 05:15 PM
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The rules in your state may be different. It does state that if there is a credit balance that it will be refunded to you. I would write a letter and ask for the return of the balance. However, if you may want to use him again, do not burn any bridges.

If I were the attorney I would rather have a happy client than a disgruntled one. But that is just me.

You could also go to the website run by your state bar and it more than likely will address fees and retainer agreements.
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Old 04-10-2007, 05:41 PM
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fichtion - 4/10/2007 5:15 PM

The rules in your state may be different. It does state that if there is a credit balance that it will be refunded to you. I would write a letter and ask for the return of the balance. However, if you may want to use him again, do not burn any bridges.

If I were the attorney I would rather have a happy client than a disgruntled one. But that is just me.

You could also go to the website run by your state bar and it more than likely will address fees and retainer agreements.
I agree with you on the bridge burning issue and will not address this situation until it is at least 90% sure that divorce is off the table. This is a very small town, and I don't want to find myself labeled as a problem client in the attorney arena.

This guy came highly recommended from a number of sources, so all I am out is a little bit of interest on my money if I wait a few months or whatever to ask for a refund. Like I said earlier, I appreciate the sacrifices you guys make to earn your shingle, but I don't need a $200 an hour attorney to explain billing procedures for his firm.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:36 PM
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$20 for 10 minutes is only $120/hour - see you're already getting a deal
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:46 PM
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If you and the wife are in agreement about how things are going to be split up, the joint custody, child support, college, etc. Try a mediator.

Once the agreement is typed up and both of you can stand in front of a judge and each affirm that you have read it and agree to it, he okays it, makes it official, and its done.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:54 PM
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once had an attorney charge me for a xerox copy..........10 cents.............key word ....once
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