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Being sued by Lawyer that I never entered into a contract with

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I posted this a few weeks ago. But this is a continuance of that issue.

In august 07 I went to see a lawyer to help me with child support issues, her consultation was free.

I never signed a contract, I never paid her any retainer fees because I did not hire her.

I called her a couple times to tell her what I wanted, she wanted to handle tings different then I did, so I called to discuss tings with her.

She never told me that she charges for phone calls.

The first two court dates she did not show up and she filed for a motion to continue, There was a default judgment entered and I do not know why. I never even got into the court room I was handed the motion by a court clerk i the hall way.

Any how she sued for 382 dollars, 300 for the phone calls and 82 for court fees.

today I got a summons on my door saying she is the owner of a judgment and I have to appear to answer as to wages, assets, profits, etc.

I have wrote a motion to vacate and my arguments. but I wont to know if I missed any thing.

first argument, I never entered into a contract with the Plaintiff.

second argument,I was never told that she would charge me for phone calls.

I am wondering if I can counter sue for anything.

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Are you kidding me? She would sue for under $500? What the.....

crimony! Oh well, at any time, did she mention to you that you

would be incurring charges for talking to her? I can't believe people

waste their time and lives over so little. Hope all goes well for you.

I know at this point in your life $382 is a lot of dough.

Maybe shes just hoping you'll be frightened. I wish I knew a good short

answer for you. Maybe one of the pros on the forum will be able to help you.

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I did some research and general attorney fee agreements do not have to be in writing in Indiana (contigent fee are different). Also, from your statements, it sounds like she was supposed to appear in court on your behalf and file motions, which means she was your lawyer. Now, as far as the phone calls, it's widely known that if an attorney does ANYTHING for you, they are going to charge. Phone calls included. During your first meeting or conversation, did she tell you her rates? Most lawyers will do this 15 minutes into the conversation. Anyway, see the below from the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct.

Link to full text: http://www.law.cornell.edu/ethics/in/code/IN_CODE.HTM

Rule 1.5 Fees

(a) A lawyer shall not make an agreement for, charge, or collect an unreasonable fee or an unreasonable amount for expenses. The factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a fee include the following:

(1) the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly;

(2) the likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer;

(3) the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services;

(4) the amount involved and the results obtained;

(5) the time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances;

(6) the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client;

(7) the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services; and

(8) whether the fee is fixed or contingent.

(B)The scope of the representation and the basis or rate of the fee and expenses for which the client will be responsible shall be communicated to the client, preferably in writing, before or within a reasonable time after commencing the representation, except when the lawyer will charge a regularly represented client on the same basis or rate. Any changes in the basis or rate of the fee or expenses shall also be communicated to the client.

© A fee may be contingent on the outcome of the matter for which the service is rendered, except in a matter in which a contingent fee is prohibited by paragraph (d) or other law. A contingent fee agreement shall be in a writing signed by the client and shall state the method by which the fee is to be determined, including the percentage or percentages that shall accrue to the lawyer in the event of settlement, trial or appeal; litigation and other expenses to be deducted from the recovery; and whether such expenses are to be deducted before or after the contingent fee is calculated. The agreement must clearly notify the client of any expenses for which the client will be liable whether or not the client is the prevailing party. Upon conclusion of a contingent fee matter, the lawyer shall provide the client with a written statement stating the outcome of the matter and, if there is a recovery, showing the remittance to the client and the method of its determination.

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you misunderstood me. I had an Initial consult with her. I never agreed to hire her or paid her a retainer. She didnt want to do what I wanted in court so I called her a couple times to ask her if she could do what I wanted. She never filed anything for me, she never went to court on my behalf, she never di anything at all for cept talk to me about my case. I did not hire her I got a different lawyer.

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I think it sucks that she's trying to collect on such a small amount. I think she's being petty. But I think it's a matter of interpretation. In general, a retainer is not needed to hire an attorney.

Bottom line is this. Attorneys do not work for free. After that first consult, your phone calls took up her time. She charges for her time. Now, whether you understood this or not is the question. Even if you didn't understand this, ignorance generally isn't a legal defense.

You have every right to fight this. Go to court and make your arguments. Read the above and go to the link. Educate yourself. Just know that you don't need a signed contract to engage legal services. It's best to have it in writing, but it's not legally required.

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No I did not file a motion for re hearing, I do not know how this small claims thing works, this is my first time being sued so I am in the learning stage. I heard nothing from her for about six months then I get a summons that says she owns a judgment and she wants to know about my finances and vehicles, I own a 07 Dodge Hemi she is trying to put a lien on for this petty amount. I think it boils down to the fact I did not hire her ad she is using her knowledge of the courts to be a bitch legally.I feel like she thinks she can intimidate me because she is a lawyer. The only good thing I have going is I am on VA disability and this income ca not be included in law suits for garnishments.

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