Legal Question in Family Law in California

Lawyer taking me to court/arbitration after questioning his billing practice

I had a lawyer represent me in a Child custody modification hearing filed by my ex-wife. This took only one court appearance. My lawyer billed me over 37 hours. When I received his bill, I wrote him & requested him going through the bill again because I thought the charge was excessive. However, I went along & sent him some installment payment. He replied days later, angry & threatening that I had violated my agreement with him & included a form which he had filled & signed requesting me to contact the ABA branch for Arbitration. He threatened putting a lien on my house, having it sold to get the remnants of the money I was owing him; he also announced he was dropping off my case etc. I do not see why my question should generate this outburst. I NEVER threaten not to pay him what ever he was charging. All I asked was for him to review his billing.

This lawyer had always used a threatening tactics in dealing with me. Anytime I questioned whatever he intended doing, he will immediately threaten not to represent me any more if he did not have his way.

How best should I go with him? Are there other arbitrators I should go with or should I stick with the one he is throwing at me? If yes, I will appreciate some names.

Asked on 7/29/03, 1:52 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

H.M. Torrey The Law Offices of H.M. Torrey

Re: Lawyer taking me to court/arbitration after questioning his billing practice

wow, this attorney seems a tad out of control to say the very least. you have every right to question the fees you are being billed, as well as challenge anything you do not agree with. it sounds to me like his intimidation tactics with you is a "smoke screen" to say the least. if you would legal assistance in this matter, from a more mild mannered attorney (smile), feel free to email me directly with more detailed information on what all you were billed for and how you might like to proceed in this matter.

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Answered on 7/29/03, 2:08 pm

Patrick McCrary Law Office Of Patrick L. McCrary

Re: Lawyer taking me to court/arbitration after questioning his billing practice

You can have the matter arbitrated by the local bar association. Contact them about the arbitration. 37 hours for one hearing seems excessive, however, not impossible. Good Luck, Pat McCrary

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Answered on 7/30/03, 2:10 pm

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