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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Default Lawyer Doesn't Follow Through Within Reasonable Amount of Time

    My question relates to legal practice in the state of: Texas

    I hired a lawyer for a step parent adoption case. There were no objections from the biological dad, the child (15 years), the step=parent, or I. The lawyer said it would run about $3500 and take 3 months. That was a year ago. The last time they will talk to me is 6 months ago. The sent me a bill tonight. I have a credit of $688. What I got: paralegal wrote a 3 paragraph letter ($800), lawyer made filings for parent relationship termination, and he changed county residence. The letter required a stamp and an envelope. The lawyers fees are $300 and paralegal is $75. It didn't require research, it didn't require filings. I also see I was charged for the half hour initial consult that was supposed to "free." I was billed for two hours instead of the half hour I spoke with him. I was watching my watch. It doesn't take that long to explain the situation, really.

    My husband and I were motivated by a Texas law regarding mental health of minors that prohibits anyone outside of a biological relationship or legal relationship from speaking about minor patients about their mental health status. They refused to admit my daughter to a psychiatric hospital when she was suicidal. Among her many trips to a particular hospital, it takes about 13 hours for a patient to be admitted. I was unable to do it that go around. It was a fast turn around since she had just been released not two weeks before that. All her behaviors started about a year ago and have progressively gotten worse. We also thought naively that if my husband made it official, she'd feel more secure and realized we really care about and love her and he isn't going anywhere, no matter what.

    Well, over the course of a year we spent nearly 60K for treatment. We are out of money and our insurance wouldn't pay for her saying she wouldn't get better anyhow. I went to UCLA to take a course and to find other parents whose child has the same condition. I went to take parenting courses as well hoping it was all my fault. We are unable to provide the level of care she needs. She is in juvenile detention awaiting placement in foster care. We could scarce afford an attorney for her legal needs.

    So I'm overcharged. I doubt I can "prove" it. But how do I least get the credit back? I already sent an email asking for it. That was three months ago. They refuse to take my calls or answer my emails. They even act like they are someone else when I call. I recognize their voices. It's disconcerting and it's weird. I figure at some point, maybe we can resume things when my daughter is better. I don't know. Maybe that will never occur. But she now has NO legal father and she is going into foster care...If they were not going to complete it, they shouldn't have started. Now things are worse than when we started.

    Any suggestions on where to go from here regarding recourse? I fear for other clients. I never called incessantly for fear of the amount they would charge for a simple phone call.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Lawyer Doesn't Follow Through Within Reasonable Amount of Time

    If the lawyer is a member of a local bar that offers fee arbitration, and is willing to participate in that process, you can pursue fee arbitration. It does not appear that the Texas State Bar offers a fee arbitration program.

    Otherwise, if he won't voluntarily refund the balance due, you can try suing him.

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