Philadelphia, PA asked in Divorce for Pennsylvania

Q: I paid a divorce attorney a retainer for services. He went out of business. How can I get a new attorney with no money?

I hired a divorce attorney in mid 2020 and paid the retainer off in early 2021. The attorney worked throughout mid 2021 and 2022. The divorce is still not finalized because my ex-husband's attorney has been stalling with returning my attorney's calls and letters. My attorney informed me in September that he was closing his office to pursue other ventures. He referred me to someone else but this new person does not like to handle divorce cases. I do not know what to do. Do I have to pay another attorney to handle my case?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Peter Christopher Lomtevas
Peter Christopher Lomtevas pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Schenectady, NY
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: The law of lawyering demands that attorney fees be reasonable. "Reasonable" means there must be an objective standard involved in the receipt of fees. That standard is typically an hourly fee for work performed.

This hourly scheme works wonders for an attorney who wants to abandon a case. The attorney simply refers the client to another attorney, and the client is stuck. The client will have to pay another up-front retainer to be represented.

However, in Pennsylvania, an attorney cannot simply walk off of a case. Three conditions excuse an attorney from a case: 1. The court releases the attorney, 2. The case ends, 3. The client consents the attorney off the case. Otherwise, the attorney is stuck.

It may very well be that the attorney is pulling a fast one to walk away from a case by fooling the asker into a consent. We are not certain, however, because we know none of the details of the representation and we have not reviewed the asker's retainer agreement with his attorney.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.