What can I do if my attorney has left his office, does not return my calls and I have paid him already? 17 Answers as of April 19, 2011

I have hired an attorney for a divorce. I paid him about a thousand dollars. Its been almost a year. I haven't heard anything from the case. Now he hasn't been in his office for 3 weeks. He doesn't answer my calls in his office or cell. What can I do?

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Harris Law Firm
Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
The first step is to contact the state bar association and make a complaint. They will be able to give you more advice about what to do.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 4/19/2011
Cody and Gonillo, LLP
Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
Go to the Judicial Branch website and put in your name to see if a case has been started: http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/PartySearch.aspx If there has been an unfortunate death, contact the Probate Court where he practices to see if anyone knows about his status and if so who has or will be appointed to process his cases for him. I hope this helps. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 4/11/2011
Glenn E. Tanner
Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
That is horrible. Contact the Washington State Bar Association and make a bar complaint against him.You may be eligible for a victim's compensation fund. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 4/7/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
I would suggest you contact the local bar association - see if anyone knows the attorney, has he died, quit practice, or something like that? You can also check the State Bar of Texas website at www.texasbar.com and search for your lawyer by name (there is a place place on the site to look him up) or you can call the State Bar at 1-800-202-2222.

Assuming he is around, just not responding, you should hire another lawyer, who should file a notice of substitution of counsel and ask the attorney to refund or at least account for the monies paid.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 4/8/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
The first thing to do is consult with a new matrimonial attorney and see if you want to hire someone else.

Second, write a letter to the first attorney and fire him and demand your money back. Third, if he does not respond, then write a letter to the local Grievance Committee and complain about him and ask that they investigate the situation. Usually, that will get you the quickest response. Fourth, make sure he's not sick, hospitalized or otherwise unable to answer you by asking others in the office or around his office if they've seen him and where he might be. His absence could be innocent or a function of illness, etc. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/7/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Contact the California State Bar Association. You can find info at: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/LawyerRegulation.aspx
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/7/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    This is a topic no one likes to discuss, but you do have the right to terminate your present attorney and hire another if you are unsatified with the service you are receiving.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/7/2011
    Goldberg Jones
    Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
    Request a copy of the file in writing and fire him/her. You then will have to do the case yourself or hire a new attorney. Depending on your contract with the attorney and the work that was performed, you may be owed a refund.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/7/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    Your local Bar association likely has a fee dispute resolution committee. Call them to get the process started. It is informal and private, but likely to yield results. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/7/2011
    Raheen Law Group, P.C.
    Raheen Law Group, P.C. | Wali Raheen
    You should contact the Virginia State bar at (804) 775-0570 (outside the 804 area code may dial toll free 1-866-548-0873).
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 4/7/2011
    Law Office of Martin Blank
    Law Office of Martin Blank | Martin E. Blank
    Send him a letter certified mail requesting a status conference with him. If you are truly done with him, indicate in the letter that if you do not hear back from him you will contact the State Bar Association.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/7/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    Go to his office and see if your lawyer still maintains a law office there. If he no longer has a law office there, look on the State Bar Website to determine whether or not he is still licensed to practice law, and if so, where his office is and what his phone number is. Call or visit him and make your inquiries. If you no longer trust him, hire another attorney or substitute him out and substitute yourself in, in Pro Per, pending your finding another attorney to represent you. $1,000 is an extremely low retainer for a divorce case in this day and age, and is cause for suspicion.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/7/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    That does not sound good. However, more information would be required to determine whether there has been any misconduct. First of all, a year-long divorce case should cost a lot more than a thousand dollars, depending on the issues. What type of representation did you contract for (Limited Assistance or General Representation)? Has your retainer been exhausted? Did you receive a Notice/Motion to Withdraw?
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 4/7/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    I just hate when I hear a story like this. You need to get another attorney on this, and fast, to prevent any more harm to you. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the first office visit. I know people worry about how expensive a lawyer is, so I am careful to be as inexpensive as I can for my clients. Before you spend a dime, you will know how much this is likely to be.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 4/7/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    If you are in California, report him to the State Bar of California. Their number is 800-843-9053 . If you are looking to change attorneys, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/7/2011
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