The attorney who recently represented me in a state Department of Transportation condemnation case has sent me a one-page Distribution Sheet document showing the Total Consent Settlement, his legal fees, and the balance that goes to me, the Respondent. I have no problem with any of that. (I probably could have struck a better deal with him on the fees, but I didn’t know my options – MY BAD.) Okay, no problem so far.
What I'm concerned about is that the Consent contains a statement saying that I’m satisfied with “my said attorney's handling of this case.” Although we had talked about the legal fees right at the top, he didn’t advise me that there would be any expectation for me to sign a document regarding my satisfaction with his services. Basically, I’m satisfied to be somewhat DISsatisfied, and would prefer not to have to state anything regarding my level of satisfaction.
I kind of resent being surprised with such a statement and the possibility of having my receipt of the Consent Settlement funds tied to me signing the Consent form.
Question 1: Is it customary for an attorney to ask, or require, a client to sign a form stating they are satisfied/dissatisfied with the handling of the case?
Question 2: Can I bypass the “satisfied with the handling” section (by drawing a line through it) and sign that I’m okay with the legal fees, and then still expect to receive the DOT funds from him?
Question 3: Can the attorney hold the DOT funds hostage if I white-out or strike through the statement about being satisfied? I’m willing to agree to the legal fees.
I just want to move forward. The less back-and-forth I have with the attorney, the better.
Thank you so very much for any help in this matter.