Do I have legal rights and claim to file charges against my lawyer? 36 Answers as of October 23, 2012

I paid this lawyer a $1000 to represent my husband in a criminal matter. His fee for the case was originally $2500. I paid him he never showed up for court and my husband was sent to jail. He never filed any paperwork or anything. I asked him to return my money he said no and to write the bar. Is there something I can do?

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Law Office of Melvin Franke | Melvin Franke
Write the bar.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 10/23/2012
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
Take him at his word and write the Bar they can both suspend his license and make him pay the money back. The Bar has discipline powers and is what they call the organization that can deal with bad lawyers.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/22/2012
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Yes. Go to the bat association and file a grievance.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/22/2012
The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq.
The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq. | John J. Carney
I do not know the facts and circumstances of your case. If the lawyer provided three hours of services that would be $900 and you would not be able to get that back. He is entitled to the fee that he earned according to the rate in the retainer agreement. You should call him and ask for an itemized bill as to the time he spent on the case.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/19/2012
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
He already told you what to do.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/19/2012
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Write a letter to the lawyer asking for the money back since he did not show up to court - suggest that he has 10 days to return the money - give a specific date. wait 5 days after the date you give him - call and ask one more time if you still do not have the money or satisfactory explanation, contact attorney regulation at the Supreme Court.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/19/2012
    Natty Shafer Law
    Natty Shafer Law | Nathaniel Shafer
    Yes, you have legal rights, and writing to the bar will help. Stealing money, which is basically what you are accusing him of, is taken very seriously by bar offices. You could also sue him in civil court, but that would probably cost more money to file court fees.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 10/19/2012
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    You can write the bar, you can file a fee dispute with the bar, you can sue him.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 10/19/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    As he directed you, you may file a complaint with the local bar association, or better yet, file a complaint with the State Supreme Court, who licenses attorneys. In Illinois, the agency is called the Attorney Registration and disciplinary Commission, I would assume there is a similar agency in every state. It sounds to me like he should return at least some of the money he took originally from your husband.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Ask for your money back. The vast majority of my practice is handling legal malpractice cases, but I have never sued a criminal lawyer because we have a crazy case that says before a client can bring a claim against a criminal lawyer, the client must be exonerated completely of any and all charges. It's called the "exoneration defense", however, if he charged you money to represent your husband and then did not show up, you can always sue him in small claims court for breach of agreement.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Yes, as he told you, file a complaint with the Bar Association.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Richard E. Damon, PC | Richard E. Damon
    Yes. Write to the bar.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    Hopefully you did not pay cash and can prove you paid the money. You should contact the State Bar (1) to file a claim and (2) to apply for a refund from the Bar through their victim program.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP | Kevin Habberfield
    Seek out a legal malpractice attorney and report the offending attorney to the Attorney Grievance committee. You can get the information from your local county bar association.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Write the bar and complain. He will have to respond. Gather any witness as soon as possible. You should get the refund.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Of course. He told you to write the bar. Do so. The bar has a grievance committee to hear such cases. he obviously has a different point of view from you however. Make sure you know what you are saying to be true and accurate. If you only paid part of the fee that may be the problem. If he did work you don't know about that may be part of the problem. Just make sure you know what you are doing.and make sure what you say is true.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    Yes file a complaint against him with the Attorney Grievance Commission.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Law Office of John Schum, LLC
    Law Office of John Schum, LLC | John Schum
    You can report the attorney to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. You will file a complaint and they will investigate the allegations. There is sometimes a chance to get your money back.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman | Brian K. Wanerman
    If he agreed to represent your husband and did not show up at his court hearing or never did anything on the case, that was a violation of his professional duties. You could report him to the State Bar. However, I note you mention that his fee was $2500. But, you paid him only $1000. If he told you that he wanted the full $2500 before he would begin work on the case, then, it was not a violation for him not to have done anything, because you hadn't paid the full retainer fee, yet. However, it might be a violation for refusing to give you your money back. It depends on the terms of any agreement the two of you made.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    Write a letter to the State Bar explaining your complaint and including copies of proof of payment.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Yes, you can write the State Bar and file a grievance.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Law Office of Lisa Hurtado McDonnell | Lisa Hurtado McDonnell
    Yes you should file a complaint with the state bar and you can file a small claims action against your husband's lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Joel R. Salinger Attorney at Law
    Joel R. Salinger Attorney at Law | Joel R. Salinger
    Yes, contact the grievance committee in your judicial district. You can call the local court or bar association to get the number.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Attorney at Law | Michael P. Vollandt
    Yes. Do write to the Bar and request a complaint form. They do not like the type of conduct this lawyer exhibited. Also, you brother may be the proper person to sue the lawyer because he has most of the damage. I your Brother does not want to to do that then you should file a small claims case because the amount of damage to you is not worth using a lawyer or the expense of court costs.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    File a grievance with the State Bar of Michigan.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
    File a complaint with the Michigan Bar. Some states are not good advocates for victims, but Michigan is.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    You should file a complaint with the bar association and a small claims suit for the money.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    You can file a complaint with the State Bar of California. The form needed is online on the State Bar's website.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman | Scott G. Hilderman
    Yes. You should contact the bar and file a complaint against him for professional misconduct; this is a serious matter. You should also consult with legal counsel because you have clear case of malpractice. You should also talk to another lawyer because your husband likely has a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Write to the bar and sue him in small claims court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
    Yes, you should file a grievance with the State bar to complain.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Mary W Craig P.C. | Mary W Craig
    You can contact the Bar Association and file a grievance against the lawyer. If your agreement was for $2,500 and you only paid $1,000, he can argue that you didn't keep your end of the bargain. If he truly did nothing, then he should have to return your money.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    You can write the bar. You can probably get a fee mediation through the local/county bar. You might sue in small claims.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Your best bet would be to do the following: 1. File a claim with the Washington State Bar Fund for Client Protection. 2. File a bar complaint. If he wants to play hard ball, batter up.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/18/2012
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