Your sister does have the right to change attorneys (although if court action has already been filed, there may be more hoops to jump through), although depending on how the fee agreement reads, how much work has been done to date, how much still needs to be done, and what circumstances have changed since the initial retainer amount was paid, your sister’s attorney may very well have the right to ask for it (and be able to withdraw from representation if he’s not paid.)
She has paid for all hours up to this date. She is not past due on any payments. The lawyer is refusing to move forward with out additional pay for future services. Otherwise she wants paid before she does any work. My sister has offered to pay her in advance another $2500.00 before she earns it. She refuse to move forward without the total $5000.00. My questions is do all family lawyers in the state of NC work prepaid. I have already told my sister she needs to move to d different lawyer but like you said some times it is not easy. Thanks for your help.
Originally posted by Golfball
[br]Your sister does have the right to change attorneys (although if court action has already been filed, there may be more hoops to jump through), although depending on how the fee agreement reads, how much work has been done to date, how much still needs to be done, and what circumstances have changed since the initial retainer amount was paid, your sister’s attorney may very well have the right to ask for it (and be able to withdraw from representation if he’s not paid.)
It is standard practice to have an ‘initial’ retainer fee for attorney jobs (like writing up a separation agreement). Retainer money is kept in a trust fund and it is drawn out/transfered to the lawyer as he/she bills for it. He/she does not use all the money upfront. Whatever is left with all litigation/legal work is done is sent back to the client. Now if further work is needed (like if a simple separation goes to court/mediation/etc.) the lawyer could ask for an additional retainer. It is common practice, though the fees vary for each lawyer. The lawyer is not getting paid for work they didn’t do, they are just guaranteeing that they WILL get paid by having the retainer in the trust account. Make sure your neice gets itemized statements from her lawyer so she sees what is taken out when and for what reason.
This arrangement is fairly standard.
Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax
10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax
1829 East Franklin Street, Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.321.0780 main phone
919.787.6668 main fax
The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.
I have sister that lives in NC and has paid her family practice lawyer $2500.00 so far (for 1 months work). Her lawyer wants another $5000.00 up front to work on the case. Where I am from you pay a retainer fee and then any cost as the work is completed. Her lawyer claims it must be paid in advance and that is how all family lawyers do it in NC. I can’t believe it is ALL. I own my own business and would never invoiced someone for something I had not earned. My sister has offered to pay $2500.00 more up front and the rest when is is billed at the end of the month.
I have lawyers for friends and retain one as well that have never made this request of clients. Please tell me that all lawyers in NC are not this unreasonable.
Should she take her information that she has paid for and run!!
Thanks for your help.