If I have a friend whose attorney racked up 10,000 in a month and he cannot afford the attorney anymore, what are his options? 12 Answers as of January 24, 2014

Court appointed? Or represent himself? How does he get started with representing himself and who should he contact? Attorney will not help at all or let him know what direction to go.

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Law Office of Annette M. Cox, PLLC
Law Office of Annette M. Cox, PLLC | Annette M. Cox
In family court, a person is not entitled to court-appointed counsel as there is no 6th Amendment right to counsel for divorce or custody matters. I would suggest consulting a different attorney that offers a different retainer or payment plan to have that attorney substitute in. Alternatively, he can represent himself.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 1/23/2014
John Russo | John Russo
Since you have not indicated the type of action then it is almost impossible to determine if they are entitled to a court appointed attorney, secondly there is no way to teach a person about the law and procedure as you have requested, simply to be an attorney you need 2 years, (3 if at night) of law school accompanied by ten (10) years of getting you kicked to become a half way decent attorney, and some never do, you make it sound like someone asking a question on how to replace a faucet washer or something, that why you always here; Doctors, Lawyers, lots of education and practice.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 1/22/2014
The Law Office of James P Peterson
The Law Office of James P Peterson | James P Peterson
That person should go talk to other attorneys.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 1/24/2014
Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
Contact the local county bar attorney referral program to see if they have a sliding scale or low cost referral panel.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/22/2014
Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr.
Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr. | John F. Geraghty, Jr.
contact state Bar of Georgia
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 1/23/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    There is no court appointed attorney unless it is a criminal case. Even then, if he has the resources to pay, he will have to obtain his own attorney. The attorney will have to withdraw from the case and the friend can file an appearance on his own behalf. Given how much has been spent already, he will probably lose because this sounds like a very complicated case.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 1/22/2014
    J. Barbour Rixey, P.C.
    J. Barbour Rixey, P.C. | J. Barbour Rixey
    If he is dissatisfied with his attorney then he can terminate services at any time. There are no court appointed attorneys in civil cases. He will have to go it alone or find another attorney to help him.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 1/22/2014
    Diane l. Berger | Diane L. Berger
    If this is a divorce matter, he is not entitled to an appointed attorney. Which means he would either have to represent himself or go through a non-profit organization, such as legal aid.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/22/2014
    The Law office of Karla M Mansur
    The Law office of Karla M Mansur | Karla Mansur
    There are no court appointed attorneys in family law. He should try to find a less expensive attorney and make sure the charges on his bill are legitimate.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 1/22/2014
    GordenLaw, LLC
    GordenLaw, LLC | Vanessa J. Gorden
    You cannot be appointed an attorney in child custody/civil proceedings, only in criminal proceedings where jail is a potential punishment (such as contempt actions). Your friend can request that the attorney withdraw from the representation and let the Court staff know he is proceeding pro se (representing himself), attempt to work out a payment plan with the attorney to continue the representation, or seek another attorney. The pro se option is very difficult, as the Court staff is not allowed to assist him with his case and he will be required to follow all court rules and procedures just as if he were a licensed attorney, which could result in irreparable damage to his case. If he chooses to try to continue with the same attorney, he should have a frank discussion with that attorney about ways he could keep costs down if the attorney is billing by the hour, perhaps he can do some work, organization, info gathering himself to help keep costs down going forward. Often what appears to be "racking up" a bill is not hiring a lawyer is not like buying anything else the other side's actions and in-actions can also drive up the bills and costs, as well as clients who require a lot of attention during the case (multiple phone calls and emails each week, etc.). Finally, if your friend seeks a new attorney, he should be fully honest with that person about his financial situation and ask about how to be cost conscious.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/22/2014
    Ginsberg & Associates | Jacob Ginsberg
    If this is any case other than a contempt or termination of parental rights case the court will not appoint a lawyer to represent him. If your friend is indigent he can go to legal aid office or seek pro bono help through the state bar. If your friend had some money, then he should start interviewing lawyers and asking them what needs to be done to finalize case and how much it should cost.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/22/2014
    Catchick Law, PC
    Catchick Law, PC | Matt Catchick
    One does not have a right to a Court-appointed lawyer in a Custody case. $10,000.00 a month in legal fees seems excessive. Your friend should demand an itemized billing statement from his lawyer, and he should start interviewing other potential lawyers to take over the case, as litigating custody is easily one of the most difficult areas of family law, and should not be done without the help of an experienced family law attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/22/2014
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