When attorneys sue their former clients for fees owed

It is a common occurrence for attorneys to sue their former clients for fees owed.  In June 2012, the Maryland Court of Specials Appeals in an unreported opinion vacated the granting of summary judgment in favor of the law firm against its former client.  The law firm had not attached a copy of the retainer agreement to its motion.  In vacating the judgment, the appellate court found that the following facts were disputed due to the absence of the retainer agreement as an exhibit: “(1) the manner in which the hourly rate [the client] allegedly agreed to be billed was to be determined; (2) whether any hourly rate is specifically identified in the agreement; and (3) whether appellant agreed to pay for services performed by non-lawyers and lawyers at the same or a different hourly rate” .  Query: Did the law firm fail to attach the retainer agreement, because it had charged the clients for expenses (photocopying, postage, travel costs, secretarial, etc.)  that the client had not agreed to pay.


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