If attorney ends representation, is he required to send a letter certified? As well, send all case files to the client? 23 Answers as of February 13, 2013

Attorney representing me from Aug 2011 said he ended his representation for me months ago but I never received a letter or my case files back. He did not appear for a motion, which the defendant’s attorney mailed to him. Ultimately, my case was dismissed with prejudice. He states he told me he could not represent me. I still have a lawsuit pending (same issue) which expires in a week but the attorney whom I have a contract with is not responding to me. I also found out he has never been licensed in my state.

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Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Contact a legal malpractice attorney immediately.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/13/2013
Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
Does not have to be certified letter. Does not have to turn over file unless you request in writing, your bill is paid, and you pay for fees regarding file, generally. Retainer agreement may or may not address that. If never licensed in your state, contact the Attorney Grievance Board.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/13/2013
Henry Lebensbaum | Henry Lebensbaum
You should have gotten notice, and as to the file, you need to ask.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 2/13/2013
David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
He does not have to send a certified letter, but should communicate to you that his representation has ended. If a case is pending in court, in most courts, the attorney must serve a motion on you to be relieved as counsel on your case.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 2/13/2013
The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq.
The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq. | John J. Carney
If the attorney is not licensed he cannot represent you. He might have split the fee , but that should have been divulged. He has to return the file if you ask for it, but no letter is required.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/13/2013
    Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, PA, a personal injury law firm
    Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, PA, a personal injury law firm | Jason Neufeld
    Sounds like you need to find a professional malpractice attorney to evaluate. Good luck to you.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    He is not required to send a certified letter but the big problem is that he was not licensed to practice in you State. It is a crime in most States to practice law without a license.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Office of Christian Menard
    Law Office of Christian Menard | Christian Menard
    Once an attorney ends representations, you should send him a letter requesting your complete file, as the file belongs to the client. If the attorney ignores your request, contact the State Bar and file a complaint against the attorney for his failing to return your file. Someone who represents himself to be attorney, but is not is guilty of a crime. Report him to the State Bar and the local district attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    If he is not licensed in your state, you should report it to the state bar association, and find another lawyer ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    No, as long as you are notified. You can request a copy of your file.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    Whether the letter was certified is the least of the concerns. If he wasn't licenced in your state, that is the unauthorized practice of law. Have you gotten a new lawyer yet? If not, that is your highest priority in order to get the rest of this straightened out.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Not clear how many attorneys you are asking about or even how many questions you have. The attorney is required to give you your file if you ask for it. nothing has to be sent by special mail when he withdraws, after he withdraws he should advise you of any hearings that are set or papers filed with him. if your attorney is not licensed he is not an attorney
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    You need to get a lawyer, pronto. I would ask the lawyer on the other side if they would give you time to find another lawyer. Whether the other lawyer agrees or not, I would also ask the judge for time to get a lawyer. You need to do it right away before the time runs. I would also call the bar association and report your old lawyer. Don't worry about getting the file just yet. Your new lawyer can do that for you. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Steven Dodge | Steven Dodge
    The answer is no to both questions. Under ethics opinions here in Michigan the file is his property.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Offices of Mark West
    Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
    I am a little confused, how do you have a case pending if your case was dismissed with prejudice. If the attorney was never licensed to practice during the representation, he might be liable for fraud as well as being criminally liable for practicing law without a license and holding himself out as an attorney. You should contact an attorney to discuss what action if any can be taken against this "attorney" and if there is any way to salvage your underlying matter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    The termination letter does not have to be sent certified. If you owed the attorney money, he can keep the files until he is paid. On your other case, contact the State Bar of Idaho and get a referral.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    The Gogel Law Firm
    The Gogel Law Firm | Jeremy Andrew Gogel
    An attorney cannot withdraw from your case without the consent of the judge. If your attorney caused your case to be dismissed, you may have a legal malpractice claim.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    You should get another attorney immediately. The first attorney cannot just drop your case. If it is pending in court the court must give him permission and it sounds like that didn't happen. If so you can sue him if your case was dismissed and can't be reopened and file a grievance against him with the bar association.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    IF he is not licensed, then there are no rules about certfied letter, because he is not an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Reade & Associates
    Reade & Associates | R. Christopher Reade
    In Nevada, an attorney is not required to send the client file to the client or successor counsel if the client owes money on the case. This is known as a retaining lien. However the parade of horrors in your question is so bad that you should retain substitute counsel immediately to protect your interests and then speak with the State Bar regarding your former attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    First, you should hire a new lawyer to look into the status of your case. Even though it was dismissed with prejudice, you might be able to reopen it under the circumstances. If you have a statute of limitations expiring in a week, the new lawyer needs to address this issue immediately. You should also contact the State Bar of Nevada and make a complaint against the prior attorney, and the bar organization of the state in which he is licensed. You may have a lawsuit against him, too.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Offices of Jonathan Mincis | Jonathan J. Mincis, Esq.,
    The attorney Should properly advise you if they are ending their representation. Usually it is the client who fires the lawyer, but the attorney has an ethical duty to communicate with you about What is going on and provide you a Ciou of Your file.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 2/13/2013
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