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Lawyer's fees!

NYC Housing Court Practice/Procedures

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Lawyer's fees!

Postby thinkdo » Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:34 pm

What is the average fees for L/T attorneys? my Lawyer charges a fee to file the answer then additional fee for every court appearance, and double that fee for a trial, is this fee schedule common among L/T lawyers?
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Re: Lawyer's fees!

Postby TenantNet » Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:05 pm

As far as I know there is no uniform or set rule for attorney fees, other than the fact it must be laid out in an agreement between the attorney and client beforehand. They can charge as little or as much as the market will bear. It is not unusual these days to see fees in the range of $300-$350 per hour.

Fees can be hourly with a retainer up front, or no retainer. They can be on a contingency basis, although to be honest I've not seen contingency applied to LL/T cases. There can be other methods, which you mention, based on the nature of the activity. I've not seen that before. Almost all tenant attorneys will charge hourly.

If there are any rules, you can as the NYC Association of the Bar.
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Re: Lawyer's fees!

Postby thinkdo » Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:32 pm

Thank you,
If the fees are on hourly basis, how could we calculate it? I mean when does the hour start? if the lawyer is in court and has several cases on the same day, he is jumping from one court room to another, does the hour start from the time the case is called or from the time the lawyer shows up in court? and what happens if we stay in court for several hours then the case is adjourned?
from your experience how much you think is a reasonable fee for a nonpayment case? I feel that my lawyer is handling the case in a way that would allow him to charge me too much fees not in a way that is in my best interest. He told me that the case will be dismissed because the petition is defective but he didn't file a motion to dismiss and the case is scheduled for a trial.
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Re: Lawyer's fees!

Postby TenantNet » Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:54 pm

I suspect you'll find a variety of answers to that, and it's best to ask the attorney in question. Chances are he'll jot down approximately how much time was spent on each case, and yes, that includes waiting. In some instances the time is measured from the time they leave their office, not when they arrive in court. The retainer should spell that out.

A defective petition should - IMHO - be challenged by motion in the resolution part, but it might not be the only way. Did you ask him?

I have done Motions to Dismiss on my own, and from my experience I would expect a motion to take at least two court appearances and the time to write and serve the motion itself and maybe reply to the LL's opposition. On the second appearance there would be argument in front of the judge. Most judges in my experience will then reserve judgement, but it's possible they might rule from the bench.

Tenants walk a fine line when wanting to see their attorney justify the time for which they charge, but you don't want to be so ridiculous in watching over their shoulder they can't get the work done.
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