Named Top Lawyers in Las Vegas by Greenspan Media Group/Vegas, Inc., & Desert Companion
Our firm does sue other lawyers for legal malpractice.
However, the vast majority of calls we get complaining about other lawyers are due to these reasons:
Delay in Responding to Client Inquiries:
This is probably the biggest gripe people have about attorneys. One tip: Don't hire an attorney who doesn't respond to your initial phone call quickly. Attorneys Jonathan Reed and Douglas Reed and Daniel Reed in this firm give you their cell phone numbers when you become a client.
There are two issues. First, how is the total charge calculated? Second, is the total charge reasonable?
The client would like to know up front what the total fees will be. For this reason we try hard to offer a flat fee option. In an uncontested probate we usually are able to offer a flat fee which we think makes us more than affordable probate attorneys in Las Vegas, Nevada; we think it makes us the high quality low cost discount probate attorneys in Las, Vegas, Nevada. In uncontested probate cases, after we talk to you, and offer a flat fee, we are willing to bear the risk that the case will involve more work than we estimated. However, in many cases, such as a contested probate, we simply have no idea how long a case will take. In such cases we fall back on the traditional practice of offering an hourly rate. IF AN ATTORNEY IS UNWILLING TO OFFER A FLAT RATE YOU SHOULD REALIZE THAT THE LAWYER IS PUTTING ON YOU THE RISK OF THE CASE BEING A LONG DRAWN OUT PROCESS. In many cases it is proper for the attorney to put on to the client the risk of the case being a long drawn out process. (The attorney didn't create the problem the client wants the attorney to fix.) However, as a client you would prefer a flat rate or a rate such as percentage of the estate or percentage of the recovery. It makes sense for you to see if you can get a flat rate rather than an hourly rate as long as you will still get quality representation.
For example, as set out in Timeshare Probate we will do most timeshare probates (if they are uncontested) for a flat fee of either $1,175 or $1,475, depending on whether the timeshare is worth less or more than $20,000 and which county it is in. The lower fee is for Clark County timeshare probates where the timeshare is worth less than $20,000. This fee includes government filing fees (but not the fee that the timeshare company charges to transfer title, usually in the $50-$399 range.) Occasionally, but infrequently, we run into an unanticipated time consuming problem. If the client were paying an hourly rate, the client could be charged an extra thousand dollars or more. That would really aggravate a client. But, by doing a flat rate, the client is insulated from this sort of expense and aggravation.
The issue of what is a fair fee is always controversial. N.R.S. 150.060(4) allows a fee based on the value of the estate which is 4% of the first $100,000; 3% of the next $100,000, 2% of the next $800,000, and 1% for the next $9,000,000. Because we are efficient at probate and are reaching out to a web-savvy clientele, we generally offer flat rates based on the statutory administrator's fee, N.R.S. 150.020, which is much lower: $3150 for the first $100,000 and 2% thereafter--call for prices on estates over $300,000. Our rates for estates under $1,000,000 are much lower, as described on this website.
Delay in Writing Checks Out of Attorney Trust Account:
In probate and in personal injury and many other cases, a check is often deposited into the attorneys' trust account. The attorney is then required to write checks on this money to pay the client, to pay creditors, and to pay the attorney. In the "old days" when Jonathan Reed and Lorraine Mansfield began practicing in Nevada in 1981 it was a common practice for attorneys to call their bank and ask when a particular check cleared. Once the bank said the check cleared the attorneys could write the promised checks. Unfortunately, at the present time banks refuse say when a particular check has cleared. All they will do is offer time guidelines (in business days) as to how long the attorney should wait. These time guidelines are based on the issuing bank and its location.
Especially in the personal injury field, but also in other fields, many attorneys sometimes make a judgment call that the chance of a check bouncing is so unlikely that they will take the risk and write the promised checks immediately. For example, if State Farm Insurance gives the attorney a $10,000 settlement check, the attorney may figure it is the better business practice to pay the client immediately and have a happy client and take the very small risk that the State Farm Insurance Company check will bounce. But if the check comes from Small Struggling Insurance Company or from some other small business or from an individual, the attorney takes a big risk in not waiting for the check for the check to clear. If the check deposited into the attorney trust account bounces, the attorney's trust account now has a deficit and the attorney is in big trouble. If the attorney immediately replaces the bounced check (or the amount that was written against the bounced check) with his or her own funds (or deposits that amount with the State Bar) at best the experience will be professionally embarrassing and financially painful to the attorney. If the attorney cannot provide security for the deficit in the attorney's trust account, the attorney will be in very big trouble with the State Bar.
Clients naturally can get very upset when they feel that there is an unnecessary hold-up in writing them the promised check. Usually these unhappy client situations are caused by one of the following:
- Client doesn't understand the need for the attorney to be sure that the check to the attorney trust account has cleared--this is the situation in the vast majority of cases, or
- Attorney went on vacation and didn't make provisions for checks to be timely issued--this should never happen, but we have gotten complaints where we believe this is what happened, or
- Very rarely, an attorney actually steals or "borrows" money from the trust account. This is highly illegal and often leads to the attorney being disbarred--not allowed to practice law anymore. The Nevada State Bar has a "client security fund" to provide complete or partial re-imbursement to clients in this situation.
In our probate practice the administrator or executor (the person appointed by the court to collect and sell the assets of the person who died) must deposit the money they collect into an account. Often, this money must be held for specified time periods to allow creditors of the estate to make a claim. If there was a will that names an executor to serve without bond, the executor may set up his or her own account in the estate's name. If the executor is honest there is no problem. But it sometimes happens that an executor has a gambling problem or other problem. In that situation the other heirs are out of luck unless they want to sue the executor and then can collect. If there is no will or no provision for the executor to serve without bond, either the estate will have to buy a bond--fairly expensive--or the attorney's trust account can be used or the estate and the attorney can set up a blocked new estate account under the supervision of the executor or administrator and attorney (whose is bound by court orders.)