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Get of a contingency Retainer Agreement

3 Answers. Asked on Jan 21st, 2013 on Real Estate - California
More details to this question:
Need a new lawyer that is skilled in the area of my problem! Not happy with lawyer. Only signed a contingency retainer and never gave files to old attorney whom I met only once. Lawyer is not ethtical.
Answers Showing 3 out of 3
Answered on Jan 22nd, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Please see my resumé at

I have been in the real estate business since my father started taking us to check the progress of apartment houses he was building and vacant units in the buildings he managed.  I have been a full time real estate attorney for 32 years, including 15 years as a transactional attorney handling everything from acquisition, development, government land use approvals, CEQA, and construction, to equity financing, secured debt financing, leasing, contract enforcement, and tax free exchanges, and 17 years doing both deal-making and litigating, including lots of summary judgments, several jury trials, and some bench trials.

I am sure I can handle your case, but we don't usually handle cases on a contingent fee basis, especially business cases.

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Answered on Jan 21st, 2013 at 4:42 PM

You can cancel your agreement with the lawyer. He may ask for reimbursement for expenses, but will not be able to demand payment of fees.

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Answered on Jan 21st, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Your question does not say what the area of law is that you need help with, so you would have to give better info about that.

As to your present lawyer, you can approach him or her about ending your relationship and be specific about your reasons.  If they did no work on the file it should not be a problem.  You have the right to switch lawyers, but your old lawyer may want to be paid for what work they did.

If they insist on being compensated for handling the matter, they may put a lien against your case so that their contingency fee is claimed to be due when the case resolves.   You would then have a fee dispute.  The County Bar Association for most counties in Calif (I don't know where you live) have an Attorney-Client Fee Dispute/Arbitration program that you can avail of if you have a fee dispute.   You would fill out their paperwork to put the fee dispute before them and they would assign between one and three fee arbitrators (depending on the amount of the fee in dispute) to hear the case and decide it.

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Real Estate
Real estate attorneys can help individuals, families and small business with all property-related legal issues. Buyers and sellers of residential and commercial real estate should work with an attorney to negotiate the terms of agreement; draft and review the contract; review related paperwork (such as loan agreements); clear existing liens on a property; and attend the closing. Lawyers can also assist property owners with addressing zoning/rezoning issues and appealing property tax assessment. Landlords and tenants should work with real estate law firms to draft and review lease agreement, handle eviction proceedings and resolve landlord-tenant disputes.
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