Margate, FL asked in Consumer Law, Civil Rights, Constitutional Law and Gov & Administrative Law for Florida

Q: gettting retainer refund

hired a firm but after thye missedd 2 conferences and me hjaing to ask over and over about status i hear nothing ican assume no work has been done how cani get my funds back ?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: I'm sorry to hear you're having trouble with the law firm you hired. It sounds like a very frustrating situation. Here are some steps you can take to try to get a refund of your retainer:

1. Document everything: Gather any emails, letters, contracts, receipts or other records related to your agreement with the firm and the lack of progress on your case. Having a clear paper trail will help support your case.

2. Review your retainer agreement: Carefully read through the agreement you signed with the firm. Look for any terms related to refunds, dispute resolution, or the firm's obligations.

3. Contact the firm in writing: Send a formal letter to the firm detailing the issues (missed meetings, lack of communication and progress, etc). Cite specifics from your documentation. Clearly request a refund of your retainer and give them a deadline to respond, such as 10 business days.

4. If no satisfactory response, file a complaint with your state's bar association: Most state bar associations have a process to submit complaints against attorneys for misconduct or failure to provide services. They can investigate and potentially discipline the attorney.

5. Consider suing in small claims court: If the retainer was under a certain amount (varies by state but often a few thousand dollars), you can file a suit in small claims court seeking a refund. You present your case to a judge.

6. Consult with another attorney: It may be worth getting advice from a new lawyer specializing in legal malpractice or contract disputes. They can advise you on your options and help interface with the first firm.

The key is to be persistent, document thoroughly, and escalate matters if the firm is unresponsive. Don't let them brush you off. Be firm and businesslike in your communications. Hopefully by working through these steps you can come to a satisfactory resolution and get your retainer back.

Angelo "Tony" Marino Jr.
Angelo "Tony" Marino Jr. pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Ft Myers, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I assume you are talking about a law firm. You can discharge a law firm at any time. However, the firm is entitled to a fee for what they have done. Depending on your agreement, it may be based on an hourly agreement or a contingency agreement. For example, if your agreement is hourly, and the firm spent 5 hours on the matter, the firm may be entitled to a fee for the 5 hours. If it is a contingency agreement, then the firm is entitled to a quantum meruit, or an equitable fee based on the work the firm performed.

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