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Question Regarding Attorney Fee

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OutFishingDnD

Question

Long story short. Filed a claim back in 2013 (PTSD), denied then appealed using an attorney 2014. They dropped me as a client the following year later in 2015 (who knows, maybe they felt like they weren't going to win or something). Fast forward to 2019, appeal finally complete at the BVA level and granted with a service connection. New claim status appears with the "pending decision approval" and "AFD for DRO decision". Looked around this forum and seems to be a case for Attorney Fee Decision. So my attorney back in 2014 is still going to get part of the backpay even though they dropped me as a client? Called the 800# for clarification and the very "nice" person said "by the way it looks like, yes they are going to get paid". Anyone have any insights? Thanks in advance. 

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2 hours ago, Oceanbound said:

You received a letter from your lawyer that basically said "we dropped you"?  You need to see who fought at the BVA for you?

Hired lawyer Late 2014 and they withdrew 2015 on the phone. I'm sure I received a withdrawal letter, but it's been since 2015. Shortly after got with my current VSO and he was representing me until it was granted. Emailed my VSO today and he said I may have to sue the lawyer regarding the fee. I also reached out to the lawyer and left a voicemail regarding their withdrawal. So we'll see what happens I guess.

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Attorney's, like everyone else, do expect to get paid for the work they did, "even when" they quit.  If you worked a job, then quit, you would rightfully expect to get paid "for the hours you worked".  

My advice is to "settle" with the law firm.  Ask them how many hours they worked on it.  

One way you could have done this is to make sure this law firm was not "on record" as your representative.  

It may be too late to do that, or it may not.  Write the VA a letter, immediately, that "xx law firm" no longer is your representative.  Send it certified mail, return receipt requested, and (hopefully) you kept the letter withdrawing the law firm.  Send VA a copy.  

I beleive the right thing to do is to settle with the law firm..based on the hours they worked.  

You could well have won your claim in no small part because  of the efforts of the law firm several years ago.  

One reason law firms "drop" clients is that they, too, cant wait for 5 plus years for a BVA decision.  Would you go to work today, and "maybe" get paid 5 years from now?  

I didnt think so.  Just because they have passed the Bar, does not mean they are zillionaires.  

I would call the law firm up.  Ask them how many hours they have invested, and are they interested in settling for x dollars.  

They may just do the right thing and say, heck you dont owe me anything.  

As a famous man once said, tho, "You double up your fist at me, and I will double up mine".  

The fairest, fastest, and best way is for you and your attorney to agree on compensation for the time he represented you.  "Ask them" for a number, dont volunteer one.  

And, if when you do agree on a number, ask the attorney to inform the VA that you and the client have agreed on xxx.00 dollars for compensation for the work they provided.  

If you call the attorney fighting mad, then they may want to stick it to you for all they can.  

If, however, you call them in a spirit of fairness, you will likely get the same from them.  

"Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.  Matthew 5:25

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Im "suprised" that your attorney was still the "POA of record", when you have a VSO.  You can only have one POA at a given time.  

I wonder why, if the VSO did all or most of the work, did he not ensure that the attorney was removed from POA?  

ASK the VSO to send you and the VA a copy of your POA , demonstrating the attorney has not been your POA for some time. 

This is probably a glitch of the VA.  Like yourself, I have found it difficult to remove an old attorney POA.  

One person said that to remove an attorney POA, "the Veteran" needs to write VA.   

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14 hours ago, broncovet said:

One person said that to remove an attorney POA, "the Veteran" needs to write VA.   

My lawyer and I had a parting of the ways after he won one part of my case and was paid.  He requested that my case not be forwarded back to the BVA for final determination.  This is something he should have never have done.  I wrote the VA a letter saying that the attorney was no longer represented me and that I wanted my case back at the BVA for final determination.  The VA removed him as my power of attorney and sent my case back to the BVA.  Please send the VA a letter to the effect that the lawyer is no longer representing you and any information that you have to back that up.  

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