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Old 24.01.2008, 02:43
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Help, Need Insight to Lawyer Fees

I have retained a lawyer since last July.
The case is being settled out of court.

When I had a discussion with my lawyer about payment he told me I could pay him at the end, after the final papers were signed and I got all my monies. Thus, till this point he has not recieved anything.

I may get less than one fourth of the monies, by the offending party, this week, from the agreed total, and will have to wait for the rest when the final paperwork is done. My lawyer informed me today that he now wants part of the money I may get this week. I was suprised. Is this normal practice.

Also, I had told him that I wanted all monies transferred into my bank account, directly from the offending party. My lawyer is now telling me that he is having the money sent to his account and that he is free to take all of his fees from the account if he decideds to and that it is perfectly ethical.

I am confused and frustrated. This incident has destoyed a lot trust in a lawyer that I already had reservations about, but continued to stay with because I am so emotionally exhausted that I dont feel like trying to find another lawyer at this point.

Can someone please shed some light on this. Is this common practice. Do I have the right to insist that monies should go to my personal account.
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Old 24.01.2008, 03:44
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Re: Help, Need Insight to Lawyer Fees

My friend is a lawyer in CH and she said that it is not abnormal.

I was in a lawsuit in the US, and it was the same way there.
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Old 24.01.2008, 08:19
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Re: Help, Need Insight to Lawyer Fees

these are the chances you take. You should have considered this when settling out of court (and he should have informed you of what costs might be).
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Old 24.01.2008, 09:10
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Re: Help, Need Insight to Lawyer Fees

One of my friend was involved in a court case in Lausanne. She hired a lawyer with understanding that the fees will be charged as per activity or workdone. She received bills after every activity like sending letters to the court or prepare some answers for the other lawyer.

She eventually got some money from the other party as indemnity and that is where her lawyer send a new bill which is equal to amount she received from the other party. She was so exhausted that she literally surrender every thing to her lawyer. Her lawyer explained that this is normal practice and the previous bills were just estimation of the total work .
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Old 24.01.2008, 09:16
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Re: Help, Need Insight to Lawyer Fees

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One of my friend was involved in a court case in Lausanne. She hired a lawyer with understanding that the fees will be charged as per activity or workdone. She received bills after every activity like sending letters to the court or prepare some answers for the other lawyer.

She eventually got some money from the other party as indemnity and that is where her lawyer send a new bill which is equal to amount she received from the other party. She was so exhausted that she literally surrender every thing to her lawyer. Her lawyer explained that this is normal practice and the previous bills were just estimation of the total work .
That sounds like a big time scam.
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Old 24.01.2008, 09:29
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Re: Help, Need Insight to Lawyer Fees

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That sounds like a big time scam.
That is what i told her. But she doesn't want to pursue matters any longer. Actually in each bill the lawyer wrote like "complimentary payment" which means nothing at the start of the case.
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Old 24.01.2008, 09:38
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Re: Help, Need Insight to Lawyer Fees

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That is what i told her. But she doesn't want to pursue matters any longer. Actually in each bill the lawyer wrote like "complimentary payment" which means nothing at the start of the case.
Fees are the first and foremost thing that should be discussed ab initio with the lawyer. Insist on detailed billing, establish the hourly rate, and agree in writing how the settlement is going to affect the remuneration, if at all.
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Old 24.01.2008, 10:04
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Re: Help, Need Insight to Lawyer Fees

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Fees are the first and foremost thing that should be discussed ab initio with the lawyer. Insist on detailed billing, establish the hourly rate, and agree in writing how the settlement is going to affect the remuneration, if at all.
The involvement of corruption specially when you use the word Switzerland is non-existent. This is what goes to the head of many people who are not part of the system.

I had a small conflict with my tax bill in Zurich. I went to my Geminde and got free half hour consultation with the in-house lawyer. He was not a tax lawyer so he directed me to his friend. I made an appointment with the new lawyer and explicitly said that i will not pay for the first appointment and i consider this time for both of us to evaluate the procedure and fees. So we met for about 15-20 minutes and i didn't like his attitude toward my case and i said i will not need his services.

To my surprise i received a bill of 400CHF as consultation for 20 min of this lawyer. I called him and he said if i didn't pay then he will contact Betriebungsamt to collect the money. He also said the more i will call the more he will increase the fees as he consider each phone call as part of his consultation. At the end i just paid the bill as i didn't know the system and i dint want to get into troubles specially with lawyers.
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Old 24.01.2008, 11:09
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Re: Help, Need Insight to Lawyer Fees

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The involvement of corruption specially when you use the word Switzerland is non-existent. This is what goes to the head of many people who are not part of the system.

I had a small conflict with my tax bill in Zurich. I went to my Geminde and got free half hour consultation with the in-house lawyer. He was not a tax lawyer so he directed me to his friend. I made an appointment with the new lawyer and explicitly said that i will not pay for the first appointment and i consider this time for both of us to evaluate the procedure and fees. So we met for about 15-20 minutes and i didn't like his attitude toward my case and i said i will not need his services.

To my surprise i received a bill of 400CHF as consultation for 20 min of this lawyer. I called him and he said if i didn't pay then he will contact Betriebungsamt to collect the money. He also said the more i will call the more he will increase the fees as he consider each phone call as part of his consultation. At the end i just paid the bill as i didn't know the system and i dint want to get into troubles specially with lawyers.
This and other such stories are blatant threats to the good reputation of honest lawyers who work hard and actually do not get paid for all the work they do...

Shorrick has provided as always excellent advice and furthermore an initial consultation with a lawyer is usually not free of charge, but can be depending on what the purpose of it is. Generally your first discussion should not be with the lawyer though but instead with a secretary or the like. As far as fees are concerned, you can agree the initial terms at the first meeting although this can generally be done through the office support team.

The threat to increase the cost through calls can also be very easily stopped with one letter and the threat to formally complain to the lawyers association for mal-practice. This he may not do and if you have any problem with your bill, you can simply refer this to the fee commission of the local lawyer association, who are obliged to check it for correctness

NEVER get involved with a lawyer who is not part of the local lawyer association.
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Old 24.01.2008, 11:49
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Re: Help, Need Insight to Lawyer Fees

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This and other such stories are blatant threats to the good reputation of honest lawyers who work hard and actually do not get paid for all the work they do...

Shorrick has provided as always excellent advice and furthermore an initial consultation with a lawyer is usually not free of charge, but can be depending on what the purpose of it is. Generally your first discussion should not be with the lawyer though but instead with a secretary or the like. As far as fees are concerned, you can agree the initial terms at the first meeting although this can generally be done through the office support team.

The threat to increase the cost through calls can also be very easily stopped with one letter and the threat to formally complain to the lawyers association for mal-practice. This he may not do and if you have any problem with your bill, you can simply refer this to the fee commission of the local lawyer association, who are obliged to check it for correctness

NEVER get involved with a lawyer who is not part of the local lawyer association.
It happened in 2004 and there was no one for any advice. But now we have the power of EF .
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Old 24.01.2008, 13:35
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Re: Help, Need Insight to Lawyer Fees

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The threat to increase the cost through calls can also be very easily stopped with one letter and the threat to formally complain to the lawyers association for mal-practice. This he may not do and if you have any problem with your bill, you can simply refer this to the fee commission of the local lawyer association, who are obliged to check it for correctness
Thanks to everyone for their input. I feel a little better.

I also am in the situation where my lawyer wants to increase his fees. We had agreed on a percentage of the total amount that he would get me. Now, he is saying since it has almost been 8 months he wants additional monies. Does this constitute malpractice.

Also, I am intimitaded to make clalims against him because I do not want him treating me any worse.
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Old 24.01.2008, 13:41
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Re: Help, Need Insight to Lawyer Fees

Just to touch on the question again.
Can I insist that future monies are to go to my account, and not his.
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Old 31.01.2008, 22:58
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Need Advice On My Lawyers Actions

I have a case that is being settled out of court.

My lawyers office received less than one fourth of the monies,as an advancement, this past Monday. My lawyer stated and wrote in an email to me that I could have part or all of the money.

Last week he stated that he wanted some of the money. I was not pleased, because I felt that it was dishonest. I decided that he could have some money because I did not want to upset a bad relationship with him any further.

He told me he would draw the entire amount and that when I was in his office I could decide how much of it I wanted. When I got to his office he only gave me half,which I signed for. He said he was in his full rights to take whatever he wanted to cover his expenses.

I was very upset because he has not been straightforward with me and cosntantly changes what he says.

Do I have any right to ask for more of the money,

or should I just suck it up as a learning experience.
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Old 31.01.2008, 23:05
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Re: Need Advice On My Lawyers Actions

I believe lawyers in the States get at least a 60% cut of all settlements and yours only took half (50%), sounds to me like you got a deal.
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Old 31.01.2008, 23:07
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Re: Need Advice On My Lawyers Actions

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I believe lawyers in the States get at least a 60% cut of all settlements and yours only took half (50%), sounds to me like you got a deal.
The money that he took is not the total of what he is going to charge me. He took half with the intention of charging me more late, when more money comes in.
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Old 31.01.2008, 23:17
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I believe lawyers in the States get at least a 60% cut of all settlements and yours only took half (50%), sounds to me like you got a deal.
Considering Switzerland doesn't work like the US (thank god) sounds to me like the original poster got screwed BIG TIME.

There is already a thread on this.
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Old 31.01.2008, 23:27
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Re: Need Advice On My Lawyers Actions

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I believe lawyers in the States get at least a 60% cut of all settlements and yours only took half (50%), sounds to me like you got a deal.
I think it's generally more like a third of the settlement.
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Old 31.01.2008, 23:35
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Re: Need Advice On My Lawyers Actions

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Considering Switzerland doesn't work like the US (thank god) sounds to me like the original poster got screwed BIG TIME.

There is already a thread on this.
Yes, I started a more vague thread previously and made this one more specific. How should I proceed, dont want to offend EF protocol.

I would like to know if I am within my rights to file a complaint with the local bar association, which he is a member of. I do have the email where he said i could have all or part of the monies. I tried to be understanding and comprised to give him some of the intial monies, but I just did not feel it was fair that he take half and he would not hear of it otherwise.
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Old 01.02.2008, 06:45
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Re: Need Advice On My Lawyers Actions

Are you saying you hired this lawyer without an agreement on how his fees would be calculated?
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Old 01.02.2008, 13:37
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Re: Need Advice On My Lawyers Actions

If you haven't done so already, you need to sit down with him and ask him to explain his fees & tell you how many hours & what his expenses have been incurred up to now and what the total he thinks will be.

Is the process over & you are now just waiting for payment from the offending party or will the lawyer have a lot more work to do?

He must have some obligation to show you a detailed bill before he takes the money.

Then ask him, why he said A if he was going to do B. You are both adults. Talk to him.
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