Let’s discuss contracts for example. Some attorneys build into their contracts and retainer agreements that the client has to fill out a substitution of attorney form as a requirement for signing a contract. This is a form of coercion as legally an attorney can only withdraw from a case with the consent of the client and for good cause. Making this a mandatory requirement to sign the contract is coercion.
Some attorneys include a mandatory retainer agreement in their contracts specifying that a certain amount is to be in a deposit account at all times, with a payment on demand stipulation, claiming that payment is late if not made within 30 days. In some case a minimum amount is determined but not a maximum amount and the attorney can demand whatever they want, claiming that their client is in breach if they do not comply with the amount that the attorney demanded.
The contract in some cases does not specify what the payment is that the attorney will accept who can then end up playing games with their clients declining to accept normal checks or transfers into their account, insisting on cashiers check which are not specified in any shape or format in the contract. So theoretically an attorney can demand an additional retainer amount of over $ 50,000 and scream breach of contract, and dump their client claiming good cause. None of this behavior is ethical, moral or complies with the rules that attorneys are to abide by and a successful challenge could probably be made to the unenforceable nature of such a contract.
Parents should be careful of what is represented to them and take steps to protect themselves. There are excellent attorneys out there who will not resort to fleecing their clients and who have ethical contracts.
The informal dictionary definition of fleecing is to “obtain a great deal of money from (someone), typically by overcharging or swindling them”. Although swindling is a strong term I think that most parents can agree that being “fleeced” for $ 70,000 in a little over a year for attorney fees is outrageous. The expectation is that money grows on trees and can be produced by immediate demand while selectively representing the clients interests and choosing what not to address.
Parents everywhere complain that the court cottage industry is geared towards robbing them of every cent as they are viewed as a money making machine with numerous drawn out hearings, evaluations and other money spinning exercises all geared towards increasing billable hours. Some attorneys proclaim that they stand against corruption and proactively will do everything they can to combat said corruption. This is the manner in which they attract clients who then fall…
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