Would it be possible to carry out a lawsuit with an attorney who is a litigator and a criminal defense attorney, but not specialized in civil suits? 28 Answers as of May 22, 2013

The attorney had originally used in my criminal case and I am very happy with, and he wants to do the lawsuit but he is not 100% clear on filing the civil papers. Are there options for this type of situation? Could an attorney possibly hire an outside person to do the filing of the civil papers but carry out the majority of the lawsuit? Are there ways to work around this? I appreciate the feedback. Thanks.

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Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
I would imagine that your criminal defense attorney will seek the services or assistance of a civil attorney if he feels that he needs help.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 9/25/2012
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
The easiest and ethical way to handle your situation is for your criminal attorney to associate with an experienced civil litigator and have both of them work on your case. I have done this many time on both the criminal and civil side. To have your criminal attorney handle this alone without any real experience in civil matters could potentially hurt, if not destroy, your case and could be an ethical violation on his side. Please discuss this with your attorney prior to filing any papers. And be sure that you do not let the Statute of Limitation on your case expire.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/19/2012
Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
If you like the attorney and can work with him discuss the issue with him.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/19/2012
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
It is possible but not advisable. It is very important that you trust your current lawyer though. Perhaps it would be best if he "associated with" a Torts Attorney practitioner.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 9/18/2012
Lawrence Lewis
Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
Attorneys can learn civil, or associate someone who knows. It is all good.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 9/17/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    It is possible to use a criminal attorney in a civil lawsuit, however, it is not advisable to do so, unless the lawyer is proficient in handling civil lawsuits, which involve different procedures and much more paper-work than in criminal cases. There are plenty of qualified and experienced civil attorneys, check them out before hiring this particular attorney to handle it.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/16/2012
    James M. Osak, P.C.
    James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
    Would you have a plumber "pull" your tooth OR would you go to a dentist.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2012
    Douglas M. Philpott, P.C. | Peter J. Philpott
    You should feel confident with your attorney. Always ask questions about your case to get feeling of how your case is going.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2012
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Anything is possible. Sensible is a different question. If he admits he doesn't even know how to handle the initial paperwork, he should refer you to another attorney who does, or he should associate in another competent attorney to help him, or you should find another attorney yourself.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    I have been criminal lawyer for 30 years and I am very familiar with the laws, rules, procedures, and case law regarding criminal law. I know little or nothing about civil law. I would not even try to handle a civil case and I would not be acting in my client's best interest to even share a fee in the civil case. You should Google lawyers in your area in the specific type of case that you have and talk to the best 5 -10 lawyers to find out what their credentials and experience are and what they think your chances are being successful.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/16/2012
    Attorney at Law | Ernest Krause
    What's in it for you to have the criminal law attorney do the civil case? Wouldn't he be "playing it by ear"? You need someone who knows how to do it. Find a competent civil law attorney. Interview several before you sign on the dotted line.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2012
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A.
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A. | Donald L. Blaszka, Jr.
    Yes there is - he can bring in co-counsel with your consent to represent you in the civil case.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 9/16/2012
    Law Office of Mark Bruce
    Law Office of Mark Bruce | Mark Corwin Bruce
    The criminal attorney should associate in a civil litigator to help with the case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2012
    Natty Shafer Law
    Natty Shafer Law | Nathaniel Shafer
    Yes, generally he is allowed to practice law throughout the state. As part of his ethical duty to provide good legal advice, he needs to know how to properly conduct the civil charges, but as you mentioned there are several ways for him to do that, such as hiring an outside person, or consulting with another attorney who regularly does civil charges.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 9/16/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    I would certainly not hire a foot doctor to do my brain surgery, so that is a concern to me. What kind of civil case is it? That could make a difference.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2012
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    The lawyer can certainly associate with a more experienced civil attorney if he wishes or ask questions of friends that are civil attorneys & or the court clerks.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    You can always hire another attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You may hire whoever you want.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Meyer & Kiss, LLC
    Meyer & Kiss, LLC | Louis J. Meyer
    I would suggest that you and your criminal attorney find an attorney that specializes in the civil area in which you would like to file suit. If it involves police misconduct, find a civil rights attorney. If it is an accident, find a personal injury attorney. You and your criminal attorney need to setup some type of fee agreement with this co-counsel. The majority of civil litigators work on contingency fees for civil rights and personal injury. Your attorney and the co-counsel will work out what they are paid for their services. You should not have to pay anything more with co-counsel. If contingency fee, you should receive 66 1/3 to 60 % of the amount recovered, depending on the case. Hope this helps.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    He is not 100% clear on filing the civil papers. Civil suits are heavily paper-driven and one who is inexperienced with the area should tread carefully before entering that hoary thicket. I am the best criminal lawyer around, but I would be stupid to try to do a civil suit for someone, and many have asked.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Mary W Craig P.C. | Mary W Craig
    A lawyer has a responsibility either not to handle a case he's not competent in, or to become competent while he's handling the case. He can certainly hire someone to prepare the civil documents for him and then handle much of the case, but a better route might be to either refer your case to a friend who does handle civil cases, or associate a civil practice attorney on the case. He might have to share some of his attorney's fees, but better that than to commit malpractice or entertain an ethical violation.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    You have an attorney already. The feedback I have is to use that attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    The Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC
    The Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC | Elizabeth Zwiebel
    They may associate another lawyer who has the required experience.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    You should not use an inexperienced attorney for a civil suit. There are too many specialized differences in obtaining discovery, taking depositions, trial tactics, trial procedures, etc, that require a specialized attorney, even though your criminal attorney might be a nice guy. Certainly he could team up with a civil specialist and get experience.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    If he does not know how to file civil papers, do you want your case to be the one he tries to learn how to do civil cases. Do you want brain surgery from a doctor who does not know how to cut you open. Hire a new attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    The type of situation you are describing would work fine and does happen from time to time.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Law Office of Russell A. Warren
    Law Office of Russell A. Warren | Russell A. Warren
    Sure. You are speaking about "co-counseling". Your attorney can "co-counsel" with another civil attorney to handle the case. Of course there would have to be payment to the civil attorney in one fashion or other which you would have to work out and agree to.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 9/14/2012
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