Is there an issue with the Law firm that I just contracted with?

As my question states, I have a issue with the actual legal firm I signed with and gave retainer to. Long story short, on Sept. 8, 2017, after phone consultation, I signed an agreement with a legal firm great reviews online to represent me in a case in which a contractor took my initial rehab deposit, never did any work, promised to give it back to me and still hasn’t done it weeks later. It’s been now 2 weeks and as soon as I hit the button to sign my agreement online with the legal firm, I haven’t heard a peep from them no email, call, no updates on anything. I would just be happy if they told me something, even if they haven’t been able to get to my case yet. I have followed-up 3 times over the past week 2 emails and 1 phone call to no avail. Am I being unrealistic that firm has not responded at all? Since I’ve given a retainer, can I ask for it back to sever the relationship assuming no work is done if

Asked on September 25, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the agreement had some firm date by which work must be begun, that would be easy--their violation of a clear contractual obligation would let you treat the agreement as terminated without penalty to you, and get your retainer back.
Or if there was some deadline they had to meet in the law (e.g. to respond to court papers; to file a case before the statute of limitations expires) and they have missed it or are in danger of missing it, since that would be malpractice, that would also clearly support treating the agreement as terminated.
But if there are no deadlines, in the agreement or in the law, which have been breached or are in danger of being breached, whether or not they are taking too long depends on circumstnces. For example, if nothing needs to be done urgently, a 2-week silence is not that unusual for a lawfirm and therefore there may well be no breach on their part. If no breach of their obligations at this time, it would be premature to treat the agreement as terminated.

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