Can I have a new patent attorney help me? 5 Answers as of August 13, 2011

I am in the middle of an intellectual property dispute with a large publishing company and my lawyer has suddenly stopped work on the case and isn’t responding to my calls emails and messages, she left her firm in December and I decided to stay with her as she knew all the details on the case, now she’s in a new firm and I have never received a contract I want to pay her but it’s so strange, my question is can I ask for my case file back and a bill to pay her for the current hours she’s done or should I just look for a new attorney to take over the case.

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Intellectual Property Center, LLC
Intellectual Property Center, LLC | Ak Shaf
Yes, the file generally remains the property of the client. It sounds like you haven't paid your client in full for past work. I would suggest you find an attorney to assist you and contact the other attorney to request that they transfer the file to the new attorney. Good Luck
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 8/13/2011
DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
If you are certain to change attorneys, then you should contact another attorney immediately, especially if there is any concern that your matter is or has fallen between the cracks and may be at jeopardy if actions are not taken. You are entitled to terminate the representation of your lawyer at any time, and can ask that they send your files immediately to you or your new attorney. If an outstanding invoice or service fees have not been paid, the firm may hold up sending the files. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 7/15/2011
Michael M. Ahmadshahi
Michael M. Ahmadshahi | Michael M. Ahmadshahi, Ph.D., Esq.
You can always ask for your files and your attorney is obligated to release your file to you or to your new attorney regardless of any fee dispute.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/15/2011
Handal & Morofsky LLC
Handal & Morofsky LLC | Anthony H. Handal
It sounds like your relationship has broken down. Not attending to the dispute may harm your position, so I would definitely try to get back to taking care of business, and if your judgment is that you need another attorney, you should act promptly. You have the right to your files, and if you are going to pay your bill, you should have no trouble getting them. You should have any new attorney speak with your current attorney, so that you can minimize any negative effects of the change.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/15/2011
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
You have the right to terminate representation by your prior lawyer at any time, and it sounds to me that you should do so. You still may owe her for any fees resulting from her prior work on the case. You are correct that when you bring new counsel into a case, you will lose the investment you made in the prior lawyer who became familiar with the facts and circumstances of the case. However, if your prior lawyer is not responding to your attempts to contact her, you may be better served by moving to another lawyer. However, I must say that most lawyers try their best to respond to e-mails, telephone calls and other messages from clients. It seems highly unusual that she has not responded to your calls and e-mails. I have to wonder if there is more going on here than meets the eye. For example, have you paid the fees owed to this lawyer? If you have not paid the fees owed to date, it is possible that the lawyer determined to stop working on the case. Alternatively, there could have been a court ruling that had the effect of delaying the case, or you might be waiting for a decision of the judge concerning your case, which might explain why your lawyer has not contacted you. Nonetheless, in my view there is almost never a good excuse when a lawyer fails to timely respond to e-mails or telephone calls from a client. Thus, you might want to exercise your right to retain new counsel. Note that intellectual property/patent disputes are expensive, and you must be prepared to pay reasonable fees to pursue your case. Most law firms that handle these cases require advance retainers in substantial amounts, so you should be prepared to pay a retainer to your new law firm should you decide to go in that direction.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/15/2011
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