If you have had property sell through the court system for more than what you owe, the excess funds will be placed in an escrow account with the clerk of courts. This usually happens when a foreclosure sheriff sale occurs where the property is sold for more than the loan balance. While some legal work is necessary to get the money back, the process is not complex. We have helped a number of people get those funds from the clerk at relatively nominal cost. Recently, we helped a client recover over $80,000 for about $1,200 in fees.
Unfortunately, we have been hearing that several law firms have been offering to recover those funds for a third or 25% of the total amount held by the clerk. We believe this practice to be unethical under RPC 1.5. There is no risk of loss for the lawyer in taking on one of these cases, nor substantial work needed to get these funds from trust. A lawyer is prohibited from charging a clearly excessive fee pursuant to the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct. We believe it is excessive for an attorney to get a $20,000 fee from a $60,000 deposit that requires $2,000 worth of work.
I should mention that recovering a deposit is different than "redeeming" the property. Redemption of the property means you save a property from foreclosure by paying the full balance due. This is a bit more legal work (a few thousand dollars, depending on the court), but still should not be done on a contingency.
If you need help getting funds that are deposited with the Clerk of Court, you may attempt to get those fees directly through the Clerk's office. If you would prefer to hire an attorney, call our firm for help on an hourly rate. We won't take a percent of the award - only bill you for the work we actually do.