June 16, 2011
The Washington State Supreme Court has disbarred an attorney who accepted representation on receipt of a $25,000 retainer without making clear the fee arrangements. He then claimed it was a flat fee and refused to negotiate terms with the client. He did little work and failed to communicate settlement offers despite the client's desire to resolve the matter. When a bar complaint was filed, the attorney submitted conflicting and inflated bills in an effort to justify the fee.
The court summarized conflicting expert testimony on the issue whether the flat fee was excessive. The court fond that it was.
The client was a car enthusiast who had purchased a Shelby Mustang. The deal went sour and the seller filed suit in federal court. The client found the attorney by consulting the telephone book. This did not turn out to be a wise choice. (Mike Frisch)
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