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    Need to write a letter to terminate an attorney and ask for accounting of services rendered.

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    I hired an attorney to represent me in an identity theft case where some individuals have purchased a house in my name. The attorney asked for a large retainer fee, and now that I hired him, he has not represented me at all. He has done nothing to help me in almost three months. He has not given me a contract or anything. I have not had the chance to come in and give him all the information I have obtained or filled him in on all the details of the situation.

    I want to fire him and ask for my money back. I need an accounting of the work that he may say he has done and his charges for any work claimed.

    How do I write this letter referencing this.

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    Solution Preview

    I have an issue with the fact that you "have not had a chance" to go in and give the attorney all the information you have obtained, and you have not filled him in on all the details of the situation. This might hurt your chances of getting back some of your retainer fee, but a client has the right to fire an attorney at will, for cause or for no cause at all.

    However, American Bar Association Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.3 says that an attorney shall act with "reasonable diligence and promptness" when dealing with a client, and this gives you a basis from which to work. Also, ABA Model Rule 1.5 on fees says that an attorney cannot charge or collect an unreasonable fee, and the time and labor required for the project is one consideration in this rule, as well as the amount of work involved and the results obtained (which there has been no work that you know of, and there definitely have been no results). Therefore, the attorney has a duty to give back to you the part of the retainer that has not been earned or incurred.

    The comments to rule 1.16 is where you find that ...