My husband & I need to file chapter 13. We had an initial free consultation with an attorney who gave us a quick run-down (after getting our personal info incl financials & SSNs)and asked for a $1000 retainer so that we could learn more about what payments would be based on 3, 4 or 5 year plan. We stupidly wrote a check (from our business account - noting "retainer" on the memo line)and were told that he would call us within a couple of days. We did not receive any type of written retainer contract/statement etc from him. The following day we called the office to be sure we had not inadverdently left before signing agreements or receiving all necessary paperwork. The attorney was not available at that time - so we posed these questions to the girl that answered the phone who asked if we had a file or case #. We didn't, which seemed to confuse her so she then took a message to have the attorney call us back. He called back a couple days later with questions on our financials. We asked at that point when we needed to sign the contract to which he answered, there is no contract, just some disclaimers you'll need to sign at filing. The following day our checked was cashed. We then called to see what was going on and set an appointment. During this appointment, a stack of pre-filled forms was place in front of us to be signed - he said, read these over, write down any questions and I'll be back in 10 minutes. We had too many questions to write down within 2 minutes so asked him to come back in and go over paperwork with us which he did. At my first question he condescendingly looked at me and said that why he told me to write stuff down and got "pissy" when I asked him to go through the paperwork with me. I got so aggravated that I asked to stop the meeting and re-schedule. We have now decided that we prefer to go with another attorney. The original attorney wants to keep $500 of the $1000 retainer. Is there any way for us to legaly reclaim the full $1000? (we are in Virginia)
1 Answer from Attorneys
Your best approach may be filing a complaint with the Virginia State Bar.
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