If my lawyer who will be paid on contingency basis decides to drop my case, do I have to pay his fee? 23 Answers as of April 05, 2013I have a contract with a lawyer on contingency basis. We have to go to trial in two months. At this point, my lawyer is confuse and is not sure if he wants to continue my case to trial. If he decided to drop my case, will I be responsible for his attorney’s fee?
Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
I cannot answer your question as to whether your current attorney is entitled to a fee if he or she withdraws from your case without more information. Whether your attorney is entitled to any money, depends, in part, what the retainer agreement you signed when you hired the attorney says about this situation. The retainer agreement may indicate that your attorney is entitled to money if he or she withdraws and how the amount is to be calculated. However, if the retainer agreement does not discuss this situation it is possible that your attorney may not be entitled to any fee if he or she withdraws from your case without "cause," which can include several items including, but not limited to: the client fails substantially to fulfill an obligation to the lawyer regarding the lawyer's services and has been given reasonable warning that the lawyer will withdraw unless the obligation is fulfilled and representation has been rendered unreasonably difficult by the client. If there is cause for the attorney to withdraw he or she is likely entitled to the reasonable value of his or her time actually spent on your case. All attorney fees must be "reasonable" so that is another factor as to whether your current attorney is entitled to any money, and if so, how much if he or she withdraws. Your attorney may be entitled to be reimbursed for his or her costs and expenses regardless of whether he or she is entitled to a fee. Again, this is partially controlled by the retainer agreement you signed as well as Nebraska law. If you have a question about whether your attorney will be seeking a fee if he or she withdraws you should just ask him or her.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Gregory M Janks, PC | Gregory M Janks
You must read the agreement/contract you agreed to when you retained your lawyer. It should spell out when your lawyer can charge a fee and when not. If your contingent fee contract is typical, your lawyer is only entitled to a fee if, and when, he/she recovers money for you - and would not be paid a fee if no money is recovered.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
If your lawyer wants out and you don't want him to leave because it is so close to trial, you could refuse to sign the substitution of attorney form and make him file a motion to withdraw and explain why he wants out. Depending on the reason he wants to withdraw, he may be entitled to recovery costs he paid out and perhaps some fee if he makes a proper showing.
Answer Applies to: California
Abrams Landau, Ltd. | Douglas Landau
The short answer is yes, the lawyer who has been representing you up until now can and probably will seek to be paid for his time and efforts, as well as reimbursed for all of the money he has advanced for your case (i.e., private investigator fees, court report, deposition transcripts, photographs, medical records/reports, expert witnesses, trial exhibits, etc.). In what is known as "Quantum Meruit" a determination as to the fair value of the time and effort will be made. I cannot imagine that a doctor parted ways with a patient after months of treatment or a car mechanic who began repairs would simply walk away from the bill for services up to that point, or the reimbursements for supplies, testing/investigation and expert advice, can you. Retaining an experienced and licensed Virginia personal injury lawyer who actually tries these cases on a regular basis and who has a real office in the Commonwealth would help you to protect your interests, especially if there will be permanent limitations or scarring. Do they have a real office, is it handicap accessible with live (not "virtual") staff. Check to see if they are ACTIVE, teaching & contributing members of the Virginia Trial Lawyers, DC Trial Lawyers and American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America). Many lawyers advertise that they handle personal injury cases, but I have learned that so many do not actually try cases in court, settle cheap and are in fact scared to go to court. The best way to determine the best injury lawyer for your case is to see your present (or future) lawyer "in action" actually trying an injury or disability case in court. Pick a professional not a pretender.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC | Bruce A. Curry
The answer to your question should lie in the language of the contingency fee agreement you signed with your lawyer. Typically, there is language in the agreement that indicates he/she will be compensated on a quantum meruit (i.e., hourly) basis if the relationship ends. Most attorneys, however, only assert a lien for the costs expended in prosecuting your case, not his/her work. This would especially be appropriate in your case since the attorney is the one that wants to terminate the relationship, not you.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
You need to read the contract and see what it says. Most contingency fee agreements do not hold you responsible for fees if the lawyer drops you. You might possibly be responsible for costs and expenses. Again, though, read the contract and see what it says. Moreover, ask the lawyer straight up.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Blaske & Blaske, P.L.C. | John F. Turck IV
It depends on a number of factors, including but not limited to the terms of your contingency fee agreement. He may be entitled to a quantum meruit fee if you end up with a recovery (essentially receiving a fee for the value of the services he provided). On the other hand, if he withdraws without good cause, he may be found to have forfeited any rights to claim a fee.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
If you obtain another lawyer the second lawyer will work out a fee arrangement with the old lawyer within the 1/3 fee arrangement you made with him. Your payment of the attorneys fee does not change.
Answer Applies to: New York