Our firm was contacted by a woman who had queries regarding the potential cost of her legal matter. We informed her of our price. She then contacted our firm again shortly after disclosing that she had been scammed $1000 cash when she chose a heavily underpriced lawyer to deal with her matter. After handing him the cash, the lawyer disappeared of the face of the earth. The woman has been unable to recover her monies.
Our firm realising what she had just gone through coupled with her genuine financial hardship offered to reduced fees in good faith.
Key Take Aways…
Scams can take on various forms. Not everyone who proclaims to be a lawyer, or a legal professional is authorised to provide expert services. Individuals seeking legal assistance or representation often quickly enter into agreements with posing lawyers to speed up the legal process, and then soon discover that this agreement was not legitimate, making it difficult to retain or trace paid fees. Therefore, it is important to be cautious and to know some common signs that may entail a scam. For example,
- Payments that need to be performed quickly; often, these situations will not allow you to seek clarification and ask questions.
- The request for payment usually takes place via text message, email, or phone and is informal in nature.
- The posing lawyer is unrecognizable or from a different region in the country.
- Payment is made out to be an emergency.
Doing research before definitively choosing a firm or lawyer to assist you is critical. Remember:
- Never pay cash to a lawyer.
- Always request to transfer money into a lawyer’s trust account.
- Always verify a law firm and a lawyer with The Law Society of New South Wales.