Minimum Fee !!?

Okay, I fully expect to be called a tight-wad so go ahead you won't hurt my feelings.

A friend of mine was charged with a simple DIP (drunk in public). In Va. in carries no jail time and can even be paid without going to court, but my friend decided that she (yes it's a female) should go to court with an attorney.

When she went to the attorney's office to see him about the case he never showed for the appointment. One of his assistants came in and took a few notes from her and sent her on her way without any paperwork or even a mention of what the fee would be.

Court date came and she called his office, they weren't sure if he was handling the case? She went on to court and he did show up (very late), basically had her plead guilty and pay the fine and go home. She could have done that without him.

Then she recieved his bill. It reads minimum fee $800! Okay, to me that's crazy, he did nothing and didn't even talk to her about the case and he wants $800? Am I being out of line when I consider this a scam?

Nice work if you can get it. And if you get it, wont you show me how

Is this something that the board would be interested in hearing? In other words is this a legit complaint?

In all seriousness, The Virginia State Bar will certainly be able to have the fee reduced if, as you imply, there is no contract.

No, there was no contract. I went with her when she went to see the guy and he didn't show. They had her sign nothing.

She said they (his office) called her about the fee (why she hadn't paid it) awhile back and blamed a computer crash for having no records of a contract.

Before you go to the bar, ask the guy for a detail of what work he did. If he simply states that his minimum fee is $800 then tell him that you will not pay it. Make an offer and try to work it out. Go to the bar as a last option.