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Thread: Lawyer wont refund money even though he had no work in the case

  1. #1
    mesageme185 is offline Junior Member
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    Unhappy Lawyer wont refund money even though he had no work in the case

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? CALIFORNIA

    We hired this lawyer to fight my dad's case. He responded to email/questions i asked but didnt have to do anything in this case because my dad got alternative program by the DA and case got closed. The lawyer wont refund even a portion of the flat fee or the extra money he charged for closing down the case/file. The case is already closed. Moreover he never updated anything to us, i always kept him up to date with whatever happened with the case/case worker. I believe i am entitled to a refund of the fee, if not entirely, a portion of it. I was very naive and didnt know about this web! he had us believed that the case would go to court and he would have to represent. as my dad was a first time offender, he got the diversion class and community service. i have 2 small kids to take care of and on limited budget. I dont know how to get some of my hard earned money back. please help.
  2. #2
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    You paid a flat rate and the attorney worked on the case.
  3. #3
    Antigone* is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mesageme185 View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? CALIFORNIA

    We hired this lawyer to fight my dad's case. He responded to email/questions i asked but didnt have to do anything in this case because my dad got alternative program by the DA and case got closed. The lawyer wont refund even a portion of the flat fee or the extra money he charged for closing down the case/file. The case is already closed. Moreover he never updated anything to us, i always kept him up to date with whatever happened with the case/case worker. I believe i am entitled to a refund of the fee, if not entirely, a portion of it. I was very naive and didnt know about this web! he had us believed that the case would go to court and he would have to represent. as my dad was a first time offender, he got the diversion class and community service. i have 2 small kids to take care of and on limited budget. I dont know how to get some of my hard earned money back. please help.
    If the attorney responded to your emails and questions, he certainly did work on the case. If you paid him a flat fee to resolve the matter and the matter was resolved then he did his job.

    If you are looking for recompense, I suggest you speak to your father.

    Zig, your funsuckers are a lot stronger than mine, so I suggest you do the pouring!
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  4. #4
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mesageme185 View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? CALIFORNIA

    We hired this lawyer to fight my dad's case. He responded to email/questions i asked but didnt have to do anything in this case because my dad got alternative program by the DA and case got closed. The lawyer wont refund even a portion of the flat fee or the extra money he charged for closing down the case/file. The case is already closed. Moreover he never updated anything to us, i always kept him up to date with whatever happened with the case/case worker. I believe i am entitled to a refund of the fee, if not entirely, a portion of it. I was very naive and didnt know about this web! he had us believed that the case would go to court and he would have to represent. as my dad was a first time offender, he got the diversion class and community service. i have 2 small kids to take care of and on limited budget. I dont know how to get some of my hard earned money back. please help.
    Have the terms of your agreement with the attorney reviewed, if you think you are entitled to a refund. Flat rate fees are generally not refundable, however, in whole or in part.

    It is important to note that all of the "keeping up to date" you did with the attorney, and all of the emails you sent to the attorney and all of the questions you had that the attorney responded to, took up the attorney's time - and an attorney's time is valuable.

    Good luck.


    (hey, Antigone* - if you can spare a Funsucker for Dictator Quincy, I sure could use one )
    Blue Meanie and Antigone* like this.
  5. #5
    mesageme185 is offline Junior Member
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    But he took the flat fee of $2000 and charged an additional $500 to close the case. He didnt have to close the case at all as the DA gave diversion option to my father. And by answering to e-mails, i meant that whenever i gave information about the progress of the case with the case worker, he responded saying 'good', 'cool' or 'fine'. does that count as working on the case?
  6. #6
    Antigone* is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by quincy View Post
    Have the terms of your agreement with the attorney reviewed, if you think you are entitled to a refund. Flat rate fees are generally not refundable, however, in whole or in part.

    It is important to note that all of the "keeping up to date" you did with the attorney, and all of the emails you sent to the attorney and all of the questions you had that the attorney responded to, took up the attorney's time - and an attorney's time is valuable.

    Good luck.
    In fact, time is the primary products sold by an attorney.
  7. #7
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antigone* View Post
    In fact, time is the primary products sold by an attorney.
    . . . . well, time and a little bit of legal knowledge maybe. . . .
  8. #8
    Antigone* is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by quincy View Post
    . . . . well, time and a little bit of legal knowledge maybe. . . .
    I have a CPA friend who hits a stop watch every time a client calls. It totally cracks me up, but he is totally right. Time is his most valuable asset.
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  9. #9
    mesageme185 is offline Junior Member
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    think i should forget about the refund. But the charge for closing the case isnt justified Moreover, once i paid him the fee his attitude changed completely. He wasnt the sweet lawyer who was so concerned about the case!!!! i feel so stupid now
    Anyways thank you all for the quick and prompt response. Appreciate it.
  10. #10
    Antigone* is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mesageme185 View Post
    think i should forget about the refund. But the charge for closing the case isnt justified Moreover, once i paid him the fee his attitude changed completely. He wasnt the sweet lawyer who was so concerned about the case!!!! i feel so stupid now
    Anyways thank you all for the quick and prompt response. Appreciate it.
    So why aren't you asking your dad to pay you back?
  11. #11
    mesageme185 is offline Junior Member
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    Because he is my responsibility and i am his care taker. Even if he could pay me, he would still have the same questions that i have.
  12. #12
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    mesageme185, flat fees can be great if your case winds up being more complicated than anyone believed (including the attorney who agrees to work for the flat fee). It is not so much of a bargain, as you discovered, when the legal issue is resolved without a lot of time or effort.

    Generally, the hourly rate that an attorney charges is high enough so that even if you had that as an option, you probably would have spent about the same amount.

    But it's definitely a bit of a crap shoot.

    You can have your agreement reviewed (perhaps at a legal aid clinic) or you can appeal once again to the attorney, but I am afraid you might just find this was an expensive lesson. The good news is, your dad was given diversion.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by quincy; 07-12-2013 at 05:20 PM.
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  13. #13
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mesageme185 View Post
    But he took the flat fee of $2000 and charged an additional $500 to close the case. He didnt have to close the case at all as the DA gave diversion option to my father. And by answering to e-mails, i meant that whenever i gave information about the progress of the case with the case worker, he responded saying 'good', 'cool' or 'fine'. does that count as working on the case?
    I agree with the others, especially with this amount. No attorney will take a criminal case through trial for $2,000. I'm sure your retainer contract stated what the fee was for (Up to trial with additional amount if a trial was needed.) and the attorney completed his part. The DA did NOT just "give" your father a diversion option. Your father's attorney presented the facts that lead to DA to agree that was the appropriate response.
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  14. #14
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    If you examine the fee agreement I suspect you will find it specifically says "no court time" or something to that degree.

    Both parties take something of a risk with a flat free agreement.

    Next time you need an attorney, and only want to pay for time actually worked, then find a lawyer who will make that sort of fee agreement. However be prepared to be charged for literally every second he spends on your case.
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