Q: What can I do when my attorney won't return my retainer?
I asked for the money back within 24 hours of payment. The attorney ignored me for a week, until I brought up matters of trust funds and attorney obligations in an e-mail. Then I was contacted almost immediately. Contract makes no mention of non-refundable and attorney agreed to return the funds.
The money was indicated as going to a trust per guidelines, but this never happened. The attorney actually kept the money in their own account and set up a receipt looking like it went into a trust.
What should I do? I asked again and was told it would be returned but I see no indication of this. As of now, my thought is to wait a few more days and then report to the office of disciplinary counsel as it's easy to prove malfeasance.
A: I suggest you drop off a written request or send one certified return receipt requested. Then contact the attorney-client dispute resolution committee of the bar association for the county where the lawyer practices.
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