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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Default Lawyer is Slow to Respond After Receiving the Retainer

    My question involves medical malpractice in the state of: Illinois

    I paid an out-of-state attorney (locating in IL, I am in CA) to prosecute a case on my behalf. The flat-fee arrangement was for him to:

    1) Author the court document.
    2) File the court document.
    3) Go to court to appear before a judge along with the defendant.

    The attorney required me to prepay their flat-rate legal fee and the court-filing fee. Before I sent the check, the attorney responded to my emails instantly. Now that the check has cleared, the attorney has been slow to respond. He sent to me a draft document that contained 26 spelling errors. I sent back the document along with correction and now I'm not getting any replies at all. My emails and phone calls are being ignored and it's been weeks.

    Was I dumb to pre-pay the attorney?
    Was I dumb to get a referral from a law firm?
    What could I have done to protect myself?

    I fear that I lost all the money I pre-paid, which represents a financial hardship for me. That payment had depleted my savings.

    Does anyone have any advice for me on what I can do other than to keep trying to contact the attorney?

    I accused the lawyer of taking the money and running, but I guess no response after a week is okay and is just a "slow" response. When does "slow to respond" become "never responded"? How many unanswered emails do I need to send before I can conclude that I've been had?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Lawyer is Slow to Respond After Receiving the Retainer

    Try placing a phone call. Let us know how it works out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Default Re: Lawyer is Slow to Respond After Receiving the Retainer

    Well, it turns out that the lawyer didn't have the decency to reply to my email but had sent a letter saying that he would no longer represent me. I know it might seem that I caused this but I assure you that my only offense was correcting spelling and obvious grammar errors in a court document the attorney was preparing for my case (actual attorney-authored example: "Plaintiff contacted Defendant is has to discuss matters related to the case.") An assistant for the attorney told me that the attorney found my "constant corrections" to be irritating and that I wasn't paying him enough for perfection. Funny, it was the attorney himself who asked me to review/correct as needed. Go figure..

    To the lawyer's credit, he returned all of my money and said that it wasn't possible to work together due to "incompatible approaches to document preparation", whatever that means.

    Aside from being a colossal waste of my time, I am gratified that he returned my fee--one less headache for me.

    Now: Does anyone have any suggestions on how to go about find a preferably junior attorney who is smart and who would take a small-claims case for a small up-front fee along with up to a $4000 contingency fee based on the settlement (which could total $8000)? I was thinking law schools but I'm just a civil engineer and know virtually nothing about attorneys and the law... I know I could litigate myself but the defendant is in another state and I would need to travel by plane to get there. I need someone to represent me but can only afford a contingency arrangement due to the amount of money lost already.

    The case, according to all legal advice I've received so far, is a clear breach-of-contract case and I do have a written contract. I could get into the details here but my primary question is how to find someone who might be willing to listen and then work with me as needed to (hopefully) prevail in court. When I use Google and call law firms, I end up speaking to guys who tell me they charge $250+/hour and aren't interested. Nothing against them or their fee, I just prefer to find someone who is more junior as I feel this case doesn't require much analysis as it does a physical appearance in a courtroom.

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