Question about Legal Fees

Reply

  #1  
Old 09-25-07, 01:08 PM
SBI
SBI is offline
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 372
Question about Legal Fees

Greetings,

I am not sure if this is the correct place to ask this quesiton. If it is not, please pardon me and I will appreciate if this question can be directed to the correct place.

I was referred to an attorney by somone (it's a "Second Opinion" question)...I filled out a "Contact Me" form on the web which was sent by an email to the attorney.
Got a reply 24 hours later via regular email, he said he will need to look at some documentations...few days later I emailed (scan) him the documents, and a day or two later he got back to me with some answers/advise/opinion. All in all we exchanged probably four emails.
In the last email, his last remark was "If you would like to meet to discuss your case further, call the office to set up and appointment".

Today I received an invoice from him for $250 legal fees.

Nowhere in any of the emails that we exchanged nor on the original "fill in" form there was any indication that there will be any charge for this 'Initial consulatition' or any other indication such as "the fee is such and such".

My question is - don't lawyers have to advise beforehand if there will be fees and how much will it be?

Thank you.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 09-25-07, 06:11 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 18,497
If he gave you answers/advice/opinion, then you probably owe him money.
 
  #3  
Old 09-25-07, 07:40 PM
SBI
SBI is offline
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 372
Originally Posted by mitch17 View Post
If he gave you answers/advice/opinion, then you probably owe him money.

Shouldn't this be disclosed before he gives the advice?
 
  #4  
Old 09-25-07, 09:05 PM
Integrator97's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: NW Arkansas
Posts: 570
Initially I was going to say yes he should have. But if you asked for a 2nd opinion you should expect to be charged. But he should have quoted something when he asked for documents. Call him and discuss it, talk about the misunderstanding / communication problem, and maybe settle for less.
 
  #5  
Old 09-26-07, 03:29 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Where the cows roam, CA
Posts: 2,204
I agree with the others.

However, what kind of personal information did you give him? Your complete name and address on the "Contact Me" form? On the site does it say "free advice" or anything? I'm suprised (sort of) that it wouldn't disclose fees. There's no tiny print anywhere that says anything? Was there an "I agree" button you click on or anything? Was the invoice emailed to you too?

All in all, I definitely would have to say there should be a signed or agreed fee agreement.

You would expect most attorneys don't work for free.

Try and work it out or check with the BBB.
 
  #6  
Old 09-27-07, 11:44 AM
SBI
SBI is offline
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 372
Absolutely, without any doubt, there was nothing on the web site other than a form to fill out info (name, address, email, tel). There was no box to check in regards to payment or anything else.

I understand that lawyers need to make money, but none of the attorneys I ever spoke with charge for "initial consultation"....even in this case, when he felt that further discussions will require some kind of a legal attorney/client relationship he specifically said "if you want to discuss further, please contact the office" which means - we'll create an attorney/client relationship and this is what I charge, but other than that - absolutely nothing was said about any kind of fee.
 
  #7  
Old 09-27-07, 12:56 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 18,497
Yes, he probably should have told you that you were going to be charged. I always fill people in on cost before I do anything for which there is a charge. Unfortunately, that is not required.
 
  #8  
Old 09-27-07, 07:57 PM
Integrator97's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: NW Arkansas
Posts: 570
Did the atty know you were asking for a 2nd opinion? Was it something along the lines of looking for someone to take a case, or to confirm what you've been told?

How was the email worded when he asked for copies of the documents?
 
  #9  
Old 10-26-07, 10:13 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 75
attorney fees

Most lawyers will give you a half hour of their time for no fee. Not all lawyers do this however, especially those that have plenty of work.

In any event, he should have disclosed the fee arrangement in his "form". It should not make any difference whether this was an initial consultation or a second opinion.

It sounds like he did some work beyond and initial
consultation, so he probably "earned" his fee.

My rule of thumb is the first half hour is free. After that the meter is running. Once you become a client of mine and you call me and I give you substantive advise, I bill you. If it is just a quick question that I can answer over the phone, no charge. While I could bill you in the latter circumstance (and some lawyers will) I chose not to in hopes of the goodwill I might generate through a possible future referal by that client.

I would talk to the guy and see if he will compromise his fee. Without seeing the form you filled out, it is not really possible to comment on the way your situation happened. Again however, after the initial consult, he should have told you about the fee and you probably should have asked. You proceeded at your own peril at that point by failing to ask.

Good Luck.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'