Legal Question in Civil Litigation in New York

I am writing to you on behalf of my 75 year old father who lives in NY, NY. regarding a Legal Fee dispute with her attorney that represented her interests in his uncle's Estate

The attorney that represented him for 9 years was not the Estate's attorney; he was mainly representing his interests in his Uncle's estate. Long story, short.. The attorney is seeking over $500,000 in legal fees plus interest.

There is a fairly long and complex history of the legal battle that I will share if you are interested in consulting with us and if so please inform us of how your consultation process works.

The attorney served my father with a summons and complaint. It was taped to his door and then mailed.. I'm fairly sure that it needs to be answered within 30 days.

We first would like to file an extension to answer in order to find an attorney.

However, the attorneys we have spoken to are putting pressure on us to hire them to answer and will not consider filing for an extension of time without a full engagement agreement that hires them to handle the case. Each of these attorneys are asking for very large upfront retainer deposits.

How can we file for an extension to answer the SUMMONS/COMPLAINT in NY COUNTY SUPREME COURT ourselves and would doing so be harmful to the ability to submit a full answer and counterclaims once we hire an attorney? Thank You for your time

Asked on 5/13/13, 2:30 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

David Slater David P. Slater, Esq.

Your father can appear pro se (represent himself) and make a written motion to the court

asking for an extension of time to retain counsel and/or answer the complaint.

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Answered on 5/13/13, 3:59 am


$500000 is not a small sum and it appears the action can have serious financial consequences if not handled properly. How are you going about retaining an attorney? Cost is a a significant factor but not the determining factor considering the large sums involved. Has anyone suggested an attorney to you? Have the attorneys you have consulted provided you with an estimate of the time involved in wrapping up the case? I can inform you that no experienced attorney would be willing to take on the defense of the action witout a reasonable retainer fee. You can appear in the action pro se; put in a general denial of all allegations pending the hiring of an attorney. This should not jeopardize your position, however you should certainly get a move on.

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Answered on 5/13/13, 6:57 am

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