Representing Clients in: San Francisco  Los Angeles  Oakland  San Jose  Sacramento  San Diego  415-296-8880

We represented two women who were represented in separate divorce cases by a well-known, leading family law lawyer in  California.  While we don't typically take on family law legal malpractice or over billing cases, this was not our first run in with this lawyer as the lawyer has a reputation for overly aggressive billing practices.  The cases were quite different; one was a bitterly fought divorce and was settled more amicably (no thanks to the attorney), but each had the hallmarks of abusive billing.   

These cases highlight one of the problems that we see in divorce/family law cases.  Whether intentional or not, attorneys often foment the disputes in a divorce by playing into the highly emotional issues that arise in almost every divorce.  

Rather than trying to temper and calm the disputes, the attorneys encourage and stoke the disputes by promising results that are unrealistic and unlikely.  In these cases, the divorces could have been settled much earlier and for a fraction of the attorneys fees eventually spent.  One wife, realizing that she was likely spending her own money, eventually recognized the problem and moved to settle with her husband early.  The other wife, was lured into believing she was entitled to vast amounts of money, property and support which ended up never seriously materializing.  

In the final analysis, the wife fired the attorney and closed out the divorce settlement with the help of a friendly attorney.  However, her fees ended up being close to a million dollars, threatening to consume almost all of the property she acquired in the divorce settlement.  The settlements we achieved for each of these women were quite remarkable.  In the smaller case, we settled for the wife completely walking away from the fee claim of the attorney.  In the other, the wife was able to compromise the fee to a fraction of what the attorney was claiming.