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1. You should not sign a Deed of Assignment as this is like writing a blank cheque. Essentially, you should agree costs with the solicitor at the end when the work has been done. It is very bad professional conduct on the part of a solicitor to attempt to get you to write what is effectively a blank cheque at the very outset of your relationship. It is just unscrupulous. You should seriously consider taking your business elsewhere. To a solicitor who is not so money-hungry! Essentially, your assets are your own property. Signing a Deed of Assignment now mens that your assets are the solicitors!!?? That is a form of financial suicide! So give this solicitor a wide berth!
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2. Well then what you need to do is to go to another solicitor and get the solicitor who you are newly retaining to give this solicitor a solicitor's undertaking that his fees will be discharged when the litigation is completed. A practising solicitor cannot refuse to release the client file when a solicitor's undertaking is given that his fees will be discharged by the new solicitor when funds come to hand from the litigation. This is how you dispose of this solicitor and get a new solicitor to do the work for you on fair terms.