Recently on the advice of a friend, a Zoom meeting was arranged with a local estate attorney; purpose - initial consultation to hire or not to as a trustee.

This initial consultation was comprised of an exchange of basic information from the client and attorney. This attorney indicated he was available, succeeding my retiring Virginia estate attorney.

Subsequent to this consultation, I received an invoice for the client-attorney half-hour meeting. Neither party brought up the issue of this initial consultation as a billable event. No warning, advice, initial information was provided by the attorney. No billing nor rate agreement was signed, nor does the attorney have a website indicating billing rates. Concerning a verbal contract, consummation of the contract was not completed/received by the client concerning compensation.

I have since contacted both Oregon State Bar and the ABA (American Bar Association). While both agencies indicate the lack of understanding provided by the estate attorney, nothing supports unethical behavior. Comments received from other attorneys are all quoted as saying that such billing behavior was unethical, unprofessional, poor client-attorney judgement, and lastly from my Virginia attorney, “insane”.

I want any Curry County individual anticipating contacting an attorney for advice, initial or continuing legal representation, to raise the issue: “is this a billable event?” And avoid unnecessary expense due to poor attorney communication and judgement on the issue of invoicing.

Douglas Baker

Port Orford


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