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Fair legal fees for consultation.

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Australianfrog View Drop Down

Joined: 23/April/2017
Location: Australia
Posts: 2
  Quote Australianfrog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Fair legal fees for consultation.
    Posted: 23/April/2017 at 13:10

I have a question regarding what I believe is unfair legal fees associated with unprofessional misrepresentation by a law firm I approached for consultation.

The fees are just under the $750 required for disclosure and have been invoiced to me after I decided not to take their firm to provide services for my family provision claim.

Back story:

I sought legal consultation/advice from a random law firm to asertain whether I had a case for a family provision claim (contesting my father's Will). Upon the initial consultation I asked how much the consultation would cost, and they seemed to avoid answering this question directly, other than to say that their hourly rate was $350. That's fine, I could have paid that $350, which I offered to pay on the day, yet when I asked they said it wasn't necessary to pay then and that they'd send me a fee disclosure/agreement.

From the initial consultation they collected information from me regarding my claim and sent their fee disclosure and initiated discussions with the law firm which held the Will/spoke for the estate. I had never asked them to do this, yet I assumed based on what they said in their initial letter to the other firm that they required further details about the estate to "properly advise me".

The law firm continued to send email corrospondence with the other law firm and myself, collecting information, yet when I asked whether I had a case, and I stated that my financial position wasn't strong the law firm continued to just ask questions. I never signed their fee disclosure agreement as I believe I was never given clear legal advice as to whether I had a case worth persuing or not.

Three months of this and eventually they said they'd collected enough information and suggested I meet with them to talk to a barrister whom was experienced in this to inform me as to whether I had a case and how much I might be able to get from the estate.

When I replied that I had signed with another firm the origional firm decided to invoice me - despite their fee agremeent stating that they'd invoice me monthly should I use their services.

I don't believe they've done anything which amounts to legal advice, or for which I should pay ~$750 for. I'll pay them so as to prevent them from going to debt collectors and affecting my credit rating and incurring interest, how ever I don't see how this is fair or ethical for a law firm to do this.

Is there an ombudsman or similar whom I could complain to? Is it worth complaining?

Edited by Australianfrog - 23/April/2017 at 13:11

citizen-joe View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 09/October/2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 612
  Quote citizen-joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23/April/2017 at 15:28
You asked a question, you didn't get an answer, you did not engage them but went elsewhere.

They continued to work on the case. Perhaps when they asked further questions perhaps you should have made it very clear that you were not employing them.

However you may have a case to not pay their fee as you did not specifically engage them, you did not sign the disclosure.

There is a law society in each state that makes decisions between law firms and clients, perhaps you should make a complaint to them about a bill for a service that you asked about but did not proceed with.

To find a Law Society clicky

Australianfrog View Drop Down

Joined: 23/April/2017
Location: Australia
Posts: 2
  Quote Australianfrog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23/April/2017 at 16:46
citizen-joe, you're right, maybe I should have made it clear. I've not dealt with lawyers before so I was unaware as to whether it's standard practice or not to give free consultation on the initial appointment, and whether they'd charge fees without me signing any agreement with them.

Any other industry if you're after a job or contract, you give a free quotation.

Besides maybe the medical industry. Though the medical industry is always up front about the costs involved.

The second law firm I solicited made it fairly clear that the initial consultation was free, and they were able to give me a quote by the end of that consultation. Which is why I went with them rather than the first firm.

So I've looked at this document:

It seems as though it'll cost money to challenge fees, which seems wrong. Thought there may be like an ombudsman or something.

Edited by Australianfrog - 23/April/2017 at 17:01

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