Attorneys are not permitted to charge for work they did not do, nor charge you “excessive fees.” If you believe your lawyer charged for work that was not done, this is a clearer violation than just excessive fees. The difference lies in proving the work wasn’t done versus proving the attorney was not worth the amount billed.
There are many types of fee structures. They range from flat rate fees to hourly and everything in between. Check out our other blog for more information about these fees.
In order to address either of these complaints, you can use the State Bar’s fee dispute resolution program. https://www.ncbar.gov/public/alternatives.asp
The fee dispute resolution program is free for clients to use, and participation is mandatory for attorneys. The program is more of a mediation program than an actual enforceable judgment against your attorney. The program may result in ethics violations against the attorney if the charges are severe enough.
Breach of Contract
You may also file a lawsuit for breach of contract against an attorney you believe overbilled you. You may do this before or after using the fee dispute resolution program, but the lawsuit will cost you money.
Note: Some of these fee dispute cases have shown that even $1,000 per hour is not excessive in the right circumstances.
If you’d like to know more about attorney ethics or working with a lawyer, check out Answers From Inside by Richard Bobholz, now available on Amazon.