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Do I have to fire my lawyer before I hire a new one?

DrezDrez Registered User regular
edited December 2018 in Help / Advice Forum
Long story short, the roommate situation is literally as bad as it can get from a legal perspective, at least according to the lawyer my roommate and I have been in communication with. We are not happy with his level of service (mostly around time wasting and being uncommunicative), but do not want to write him off just yet. We have a consultation with a different lawyer tomorrow.

I'm assuming I'm not obligated to fire my current lawyer before seeking other options, is that correct? What if I retain the services of this new lawyer? Do I need to fire the first lawyer before paying a retainer to Lawyer #2? Technically, our "retainer" for Lawyer #1 has not run out. But he's been unresponsive and we're not sure we're getting the best advice or service. Plus he is massively expensive, particularly compared to the new lawyer we are meeting tomorrow.

Drez on

Posts

  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    I’d ask the new lawyer this question. They should know if there are any rules about that sort of thing in your area.

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  • JusticeJustice Registered User regular
    No, you can have all the lawyers you want. It's like having multiple doctors, basically, if you get a second opinion you don't have to tell the old doctor (or the new one), but they both have privacy obligations toward you. I guess I'd glance at your current retainer agreement to make sure there's nothing about getting a second lawyer, but I've never heard of such a thing.

    zepherinDrezDisruptedCapitalist
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    There is a construction company that when they do a new case they bring on a new firm to partner with their inhouse counsel. To the point of having every large firm in DC and NYC on retainer, to deny those firms to anyone trying to sue them.

    DrezStyrofoam Sammich
  • So It GoesSo It Goes We keep moving...Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited December 2018
    You can absolutely get a second opinion.

    If you hire the new lawyer to take over you need to then terminate your representation with the old lawyer. You should get your file from the old lawyer - you are entitled to it along with a full accounting of what he's been charging you and why. Also you should get a refund of any part of your retainer not yet earned. If you have problems with any of this contact the New York State bar association.

    Speak to lawyer number two about this when you meet.

    So It Goes on
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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited December 2018
    Thanks, all!

    Drez on
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited December 2018
    So It Goes wrote: »
    You can absolutely get a second opinion.

    If you hire the new lawyer to take over you need to then terminate your representation with the old lawyer. You should get your file from the old lawyer - you are entitled to it along with a full accounting of what he's been charging you and why. Also you should get a refund of any part of your retainer not yet earned. If you have problems with any of this contact the New York State bar association.

    Speak to lawyer number two about this when you meet.

    Yeah one of my concerns with the first lawyer is that my roommate asked him what the current retainer covered with regard to back and forth with the bad roommate. His response was “stop talking about money, I could be charging you a lot more.” Which he said genially but it kind of pissed me off and I found it shady.

    He also said we consumed our original retainer reiterating everything about our case. We had originally explained the whole situation to him. He recommended we wait a few weeks before taking action. My roommate called him to make sure he was all set to send notice to bad roommate but the lawyer seemed to have forgotten everything about our case. My roommate reiterated everything to Frank over the phone and said we needed to come back in. Once in, he asked us to reiterate everything we discussed during the original meeting. And then we had to pay an additional retainer.

    There has been no back and forth with the bad roommate because he never received the lawyer’s letter (he did UPS it, but bad roommate never picked it up). We emailed the lawyer asking him to resend via snail mail and so email us a copy of the letter. He did not respond. My roommate called him to ask him if he saw our email. He said he would read and respond that night. He hasn’t and that was at least a week ago.

    So I’m not wrong that these are red flags, right?

    edit: The thing is, this whole ordeal has made me very distrusting in general. Almost to the point of paranoia. Which is not healthy and I hate it. I don’t want to go off the deep end. I’ve been trying to temper my own skepticism and not see red flags everywhere, but I basically do.

    Even this new lawyer: There are no reviews of him online at all. And after we paid the legal consultation fee on Tuesday for a meeting today, he sent us a payment link for full retainer. He didn’t say “just in case we move forward.” I find that rather aggressive at best and weird/shady at worst. But maybe I’m just viewing everything with an excessively level of skepticism.

    Drez on
  • RollsavagerRollsavager Registered User regular
    Drez wrote: »
    He also said we consumed our original retainer reiterating everything about our case. We had originally explained the whole situation to him. He recommended we wait a few weeks before taking action. My roommate called him to make sure he was all set to send notice to bad roommate but the lawyer seemed to have forgotten everything about our case. My roommate reiterated everything to Frank over the phone and said we needed to come back in. Once in, he asked us to reiterate everything we discussed during the original meeting. And then we had to pay an additional retainer.

    There has been no back and forth with the bad roommate because he never received the lawyer’s letter (he did UPS it, but bad roommate never picked it up). We emailed the lawyer asking him to resend via snail mail and so email us a copy of the letter. He did not respond. My roommate called him to ask him if he saw our email. He said he would read and respond that night. He hasn’t and that was at least a week ago.

    You're not getting the professionalism and results you expected. Finding another lawyer seems like the right play to me.
    Drez wrote: »
    Even this new lawyer: There are no reviews of him online at all. And after we paid the legal consultation fee on Tuesday for a meeting today, he sent us a payment link for full retainer. He didn’t say “just in case we move forward.” I find that rather aggressive at best and weird/shady at worst. But maybe I’m just viewing everything with an excessively level of skepticism.

    That wouldn't necessarily scare me away--if it's a small office, maybe their process isn't as refined as a big place where you would expect comprehensive form letters. Either way, I would say this reflects on communication with the new guy (he might be more terse and expect certain things to be "understood"), but it doesn't necessarily reflect on his performance.

    That said, I am not a lawyer, so maybe some of this looks different once you take billable hours and such into account.

    Drez
  • So It GoesSo It Goes We keep moving...Registered User, Moderator mod
    You should look into a new lawyer, yes, and you should demand a full accounting of how your retainer was spent by the first lawyer. Lawyers have an ethical duty to only pay themselves out of the retainer what they have actually earned, and an ethical duty to communicate and provide you information.

    As this could get ugly I'd also recommend you don't talk about it further here. (Not a mod ruling, just some friendly advice).

    DrezElvenshaezepherinIncenjucarDisruptedCapitalistJaysonFourBrodyHappylilElf
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Thank you all! And good advice, you’re right.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Anyone who says "stop talking about money" is almost always trying to fleece you. Hope it works out for you drez.

    Ladies.
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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Thanks

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