Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Malcolm Mackey on Tuesday rejected a bid by Shapiro's lawyers to have Spector's claims dismissed, saying it would be up to jurors to decide whether the fee was nonrefundable.
Shapiro, a member of O.J. Simpson's defense team, was Spector's first attorney and bailed him out of jail after he shot a woman at his mansion in 2003.
Spector later replaced him and was convicted of second-degree murder in 2009 after two trials. He is serving 19 years to life in state prison.
His dispute with Shapiro is scheduled to go to trial in March.