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What should I do if I receive a letter from a lawyer quoting a fee BEFORE they have talked to me?
You should be very suspicious. After all, this person knows nothing about the facts or your case or your background. How can they possibly quote you a fee when they have no idea what work is required to resolve your case?
The Virginia rules of ethics strongly discourage the blind quoting of fees by attorneys before they have had a chance to speak with you about your case.
If you call one of these lawyers and they increase their rate above what is stated in their letter, you should consider reporting them to the Virginia Bar because this is unethical.
If the attorney sticks to the blindly quoted fee, you should question what you are actually going to get from that attorney. Every case is different. Yet a fee that never changes says that the attorney is going to handle your case like every other case he has.
I speak to prospective clients about this issue every month. I recently talked to a woman and while this all made sense to her, she, despite her better judgment, decided to hire an attorney that blindly quoted a fee to her in a letter. A month later I received a call from this woman and she was very upset. She said that the attorney she hired had assured her he could get the case reduced. Yet, when they got to court, this lawyer asked the woman to plead guilty to reckless driving at a speed that was not very high. When the woman refused, the lawyer raised his voice and told the woman that she would have to sign off on a release. The woman did. She then wanted to fire the lawyer, but the judge refused to continue case.
If something sounds too good to be true it probably is. People make the mistake of thinking that their case is "straightforward" or "run of the mill" and therefore any attorney can handle it. This simply is not the case and I have seen many examples firsthand.
If you would like the peace of mind of knowing you have honest and experienced legal representation, contact Manikas Law for a free consultation. We can be reached at 703-556-0004 or by using the Contact Us box.