My question relates to legal practice in the state of: Florida
I contracted a local attorney in the hopes of negotiating down a debt with a lender who holds a lien against a foreclosed property I purchased through the county's auction system. Said attorney issued the regular disclaimer during our call as to how he could not guarantee any results but did mention that in all the cases he had handled for his clients so far he was not once unable to negotiate down a debt.
Following payment of a $3500 flat fee to negotiate said debt it took about 3 weeks for the attorney's office to get in touch with the lenders attorney. I mentioned the amount of the debt I was hoping he could negotiate down and I suppose he carried that number to the lender's attorneys. There were no updates issued on the development of his negotiations with the lender unless I asked for them about every 2 weeks for the next 4 months or so. I lined up a buyer for the property and informed the attorney accordingly requesting that any type of reduction in the outstanding debt would be of help at this point. He acknowledged my message but did not write anything further. I have not heard from the attorney again.
Although I fully understand that no grantees were made on potential reductions of the debt by the attorney's attempts, I do feel as if the effort put into this was lackluster at best. Am I simply supposed to learn a lesson from this and consider it normal for attorneys in this type of transactions to perform this way? Did I do something wrong? or was I simply expecting too much as far as communication?
The attorney consultation and fee contract states the following:
II. ATTORNEY'S FEE
2.01 In consideration of services rendered and to be rendered by the Attorney, Client
agrees to pay for the Attorney's time at the following hourly rates:
$3500.00 nonrefundable, flat Attorneys fee, earned upon
receipt, which shall be due upon execution.
The attorney's fees do not include postage, copy and certified copy expenses, delivery
charges, and any other out-of-pocket costs. These costs will be treated as additional expenses and
will be included in our bill.
You agree to pay those reasonable expenses. If payments are not made promptly to us as
requested, we reserve the right to immediately withdraw from representing you in any and all matters
that the law firm is handling. You agree to the withdrawal.
However, if Client's claim is governed by a statute or law which sets the Attorney's fees, and the law
precludes any other fee arrangement other than the amount set by law, then the amount payable to the
Attorney shall be limited to the maximum allowed by law.
2.02 $3500.00 nonrefundable, flat Attorneys fee, earned upon receipt, which shall be due
2.03 At the time of each billing, the amount of legal services and expenses billed by the
Attorney shall be disbursed from the Attorney's Trust Account to the Attorney's Operating Account.
a. Each billing will reflect the legal services rendered and the deposit necessary
to cover the estimated legal services and expenses for the next billing period.
b. Client agrees to make such additional deposits for expenses as are required by
the Attorney within ten (10) days from the statement's date.
c. Unpaid fees and expenses, if not paid within ten (10) days from the
statement's date, shall bear interest at the rate of 18 percent per annum until paid.
d. All sums due and to become due are payable at the Attorney's office in
Broward County, FLORIDA.
2.03 implies there would be billings but I never received any sort or bills or time allocations for their efforts.