Question Details:I have retained a lawyer based on a personal referral to me. Within less than 1 week the first 10 hours were up. And at 8 pm at night, she left me a message that my hours are exhausted. I am puzzled, because 5 days ago I took all the papers and was in the process of creating a file folder according to her request. Where did the hours go? I met her and she said she had drafted a letter, but would not show me the draft (2-hour billing charge). She gave me payment options: continue on $250 an hour or pay her a lump sum of 10K before settlement and litigation. Does this sound right?
It sounds like you and the lawyer did not have a clear understanding as to how she was going to bill you from the get go. When you retain a lawyer the lawyer is supposed to provide you with a retainer agreement. Among the things that are to be listed in the agreement is the fee structure. Most fee structures are either flat fees or hourly charges. If the case is a personal injury case, the lawyers take a fee on a contingency. In this case, I don't think you know what the fee structure was from the beginning. I suggest that you ask for all the itemized billings so you can see how you were billed and ask for the retainer as you are required to have one. if you do not get these things you can ask her for the number to the bar committee in the state so you can make a complaint. I suggest trying to work this out or getting your money back and hiring a new lawyer.