When you acquire the services of a lawyer and the lawyer agrees to represent you legally, a two-way relationship is formed in which you and the lawyer have the same goal—satisfactorily resolving a legal disagreement. To accomplish this, each of you must be accountable to the other. Both parties have responsibility for ethical behavior in a lawyer-client relationship—and it typically requires considerable effort.
You have a right to expect your attorney to conduct himself or herself professionally. On the other hand, each situation has at least two alternative outcomes. If you are dissatisfied with your attorney, it is critical to ascertain why. If you believe you have a legitimate complaint about your legal counsel following a thorough inquiry, you have a number of choices. This section will discuss several of these choices and the considerations that should be made for resolving such issues.
How can I make a complaint about my attorney?
If you believe you have a legitimate complaint about the way your lawyer handled your case, you should contact the state agency that regulates attorney licensing. Typically, this is the disciplinary body for the state’s highest court. The state bar organization is responsible for disciplining lawyers in numerous states. The board or bar will investigate or direct you to an appropriate source of assistance. If your complaint is over the fee your lawyer charged, you may be directed to the fee arbitration process of a state or local bar association.
Complaining to your attorney about his or her unethical behavior is a serious concern. Prior to file a complaint, make an attempt to resolve any issues or disagreements directly with the lawyer. Please bear in mind that while filing a complaint of this nature may result in the lawyer being chastised for misconduct, you are extremely unlikely to recover any money. If you are currently involved in an issue that your lawyer handled improperly, it is vital that you safeguard your rights by ensuring that your case is handled properly moving forward.
My case was lost due to my lawyer’s incompetence. What am I to do?
If you believe your lawyer was irresponsible in managing your case and this incompetence cost you money or jeopardized your legal rights, you may be entitled to sue for malpractice. Hensley Legal Group can help with that.
My attorney arbitrated my claim and is now refusing to pay me my half of the settlement. What can I do about it?
If you feel your lawyer got or retained money or property from you illegally, call the state client security fund, client indemnity fund, or client assistance fund. State or municipal bar associations, as well as the state bar disciplinary board, can assist you. This money may be used to compensate clients who have been duped by their attorney, if a court determines that their attorney tricked them. Attorneys are compensated for maintaining these funds. However, keep in mind that the majority of states’ programs disperse available funds fairly to all clients with legitimate claims within a stipulated time period. There is rarely enough money to completely cover all claims.