John Brennan Law was referred to me by my other attorney in Minnesota. Being a former local, I know a lot of people from Minnesota, especially when it comes to professionals since I’m a well known businessman. I was just about to sign on the dotted line when John Brennan changed our original deal from a $1,000 retainer to a $1,000 “deposit” and continued payment of his payables on Net/30 terms. I denied such a strange structure and made what I felt to be a fair counteroffer – a $1,000 retainer with regular replenishments based on the amount of work needed – the exact thing we agreed on within our emails to each other.
Instead of working with me and acknowledging our initial agreement, John decided it was a better idea to belittle me and replied in writing that he recommend I find a “a less experienced lawyer with different economic requirements,” yet John was the one who changed the deal. It had nothing to do with my ability to pay him, just his up-stuck attitude about getting as much money upfront as possible from me.
Already dealing with the stress of losing my father at a young age, and now the strong possibility of losing my father’s home to a greedy mortgage company, John practically put me into tears with his insensitivity. I could not believe this passive aggressive attitude was coming from a 64 year old (born in 1951) veteran attorney who was introduced to me by another firm in which I had great rapport with.
In leu of his rudeness, I made a final counteroffer to John and offered him a $1500 retainer as a compromise. I have yet to hear back from John, and am assuming he closed shop for the weekend to go home to participate in other forms of bigotry. I guess once you’re as old as John is, you forget to have compassion for others during their most sensitive times. I’m just hoping the alzheimer’s sets in soon so he will forget about this little charade and actually do the job I’m pursued him for. Nah… attorneys like John are a dime a dozen anyways, I’ll just find another one THAT DOESN’T HAVE AN ATTITUDE.
P.S. An attorney lacking a confidentially clause is someone just begging for his conversations to be publicly posted to the Internet. Unfortunately for John, he didn’t have one – so here’s most of our conversation for the world to see.
Because we have not worked together before, I would need you to sign a Retention Agreement by which you would be hiring me. As part of that, I would be asking you to deposit a $1,000.00 retainer payment in my Trust Account. If the final billing is more than that, I would expect to be paid the difference. If the final billing is less than $1,000.00, I would send you a refund.
Let me know if you are interested in proceeding in this manner. If so, I will send you the Retention Agreement.
I’ve taken everything you’ve written [earlier] into consideration and would like to move forward. I’m attaching the Quit Claim that I created in Word format so you can perform any edits you deem necessary. I am also attaching Certificate of Title and the Informal Appointment of Personal Representative document.
Please send the engagement letter as well as the methods of payment you accept. In consideration that time is of the essence, payment via credit card seems the most convenient method for this.
Looking forward to your anticipated response.
As requested, I have attached a Retention Agreement. If you have any questions, please call. Otherwise, please return a signed copy with your Retainer check (I do not accept credit cards).
You will see that I am asking for an initial retainer deposit in the amount of $1,000.00. This is what we call an “exit retainer”. That money will remain in my Trust Account until the matter has been concluded. In the interim, I will send you monthly statements and expect that those statements be paid within thirty days. The exit retainer works much the same way as a security deposit in a lease. When the matter is concluded, I would send you a final bill. If it is less than the amount of the retainer, I would send you the difference. If the final bill is more than the retainer, I would ask you to pay the difference. From a practical standpoint, this should all be done well before the end of February.
I have estimated that the total billing on this matter will be in the $900 – 1,000 range (exclusive of title insurance, should you choose to obtain a policy). That is based on prior experience. Please understand, however, that this is an estimate, not a firm bid. The total fees will depend on how much time I am required to devote to the file, together with any out-of-pocket expenses I incur.
In your email, you refer to time being of the essence. I thought that this would not be finalized until the end of March, 2015. While we like to keep things moving, that doesn’t sound particularly urgent. Am I missing something here?
I don’t have that kind of cash flow right now. I’m able to make a $1,000 retainer that is deducted from on a routine basis, and refilled as needed, but to put up a “deposit” per se is not agreeable to me. In fact, I nary have had to work with a professional on any other means than credit basis because I have such an outstanding credit score and reputation.
I appreciate your situation. However, I have decided it is best that you and I not work together.
Perhaps you will find a less experienced lawyer with different economic requirements.
I wish you the best of success with this project.
JOHN H. BRENNAN, ESQ.
641 East Lake Street, Suite 228
Wayzata, MN 55391
Are you serious? Over a simple discussion of a fee deposit? I’m not asking for credit, I’m asking for you to take a retainer, not a retainer and a deposit. I truly see no purpose for it to be structured in such a manner is all. I’m willing to cut you a $1500 retainer to ease your concern, of which the fees and costs will be deducted from. I am not a high maintenance client, if that seems to be the issue. I have a simple and specific need to be fulfilled, and that is all.
I’ll leave it up to you if you wish to reconsider, but I really feel you took my response the wrong way – considering your edgy response.