Overcharged? You may have a case of legal malpractice

You were beyond upset when you received your latest bill from your attorney. You had been feeling like the costs were higher than you expected before, but this time really seemed extortionate. You were being charged for 15 hours of work on a simple case, and you knew that you'd only met for an hour with your attorney during that time. In fact, for one of the phone calls you placed, you spent only 5 minutes talking to the attorney. On the itemized sheet, you see that they charged you for a full hour.

When you brought it up to your attorney's office, they stated that they always charge by the hour. That was a surprise to you because they hadn't told you before. You went back through your contract and didn't see it either. Now what can you do?

If your attorney did not include a fee schedule or other documentation in your original contract, you may have a case. When you're working with an attorney, they should discuss their payment scheme and how you need to pay. They should talk about how they charge and when they round up their time or if they charge as low as by the minute. You need to know because you want to save money, even if you need these services.

At a minimum, it's unfair to ask a client to pay for services when they didn't know there was a cost or that the cost was so high. It's unethical, and it's something you may want to discuss with your new attorney.

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