Professional ethics

What should I do if attorney tries to extort more fees just before trial and threatens to loose if you don't pay him more money?

Attorney is on contingency in two separate cases. One case he won and attorney fees were awarded. He wants to take attorney fees as compensation but says I should pay him the attorney fees from monies I'm receiving from an escrow account and I should wait to be reimbursed from the attorney fees when they are collected. He told me that I wouldn't like the results in the second case that goes to trial in three weeks if I don't agree to amend our agreement to reflect this change.

Nathan’s Answer

You may ask the attorney to put that creative arrangement in writing. If they do, have another attorney review it. If your attorney refuses to put it in writing, you should seek another attorney immediately and perhaps report this attorney to the State Bar of California. This is the nuclear option and will only waste your time if it is not based on hard fact, so you want to make sure you did not misunderstand your attorney before taking such action.

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