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If you hire a divorce lawyer in New York, then you trust that professional to represent you properly under the law. A problem occurs when your attorney seems to suddenly stop acting on your behalf. You could end up being harmed legally or financially if this happens. Here is what to do if your lawyer does not act on your behalf.
Understanding the Responsibilities of Lawyers
Attorneys have certain professional and ethical responsibilities that must be met in order to practice law in the country. Lawyers have a fiduciary duty to serve clients. This means the attorney needs to do several things from zealously representing a client to listening to what the person wants in regards to legal decisions. Lawyers must act on your behalf as an advocate. Failure to do so could be considered a breach of fiduciary duty, negligence or even legal malpractice depending on the situation.
Meet With Your Attorney Immediately
You should immediately meet with your attorney once you realize there is a problem. Arrange a face-to-face meeting. Get your facts about what is happening straight before you arrive. It is important that you are clear and blunt with your attorney without being rude or overly aggressive. Describe exactly what is making you upset. Use as many specifics as possible. Ask your attorney why he or she is not acting on your behalf. Try to get real and concrete answers so that you know what to do next.
File a Complaint with the State Bar Association
Not acting on your behalf can potentially be an ethical violation for a lawyer. If this is the case, then you can file a complaint with the State Bar Association. The complaint will cause professionals at the State Bar to look into your allegations. If you present enough evidence, then a full investigation of the lawyer will start. The complaint could potentially lead to charges against the attorney. It could even lead to disciplinary hearings or revocation of the license to practice law. Filing a complaint could also cause your attorney to suddenly start representing you correctly and ethically.
Secure another Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
If no resolution has been found, then you must secure another lawyer to protect your rights. You should find another lawyer to take over your current case. You might also want to find a lawyer who will protect you against possible retribution from the previous attorney. Your former lawyer might attempt to do things like sue you for unpaid fees or sabotage your case. Having a competent lawyer defending you against those possibilities is something that can help immensely especially while going through other litigation.
Terminate Your Attorney
It is usually a good idea to terminate your attorney after trying and failing to resolve the problem. You need to do this officially. That means writing up a letter of termination and presenting it to the lawyer in person. You could also send the letter through certified mail if there is an unofficial understanding that the attorney was fired.
Potentially Pursue a Case against Your Former Lawyer
The reality is that a lawyer who does not act on your behalf might damage your case and cause you financial harm. The actions of the attorney could be considered malpractice or negligence. A final step could be to potentially pursue a case against your former lawyer. You might be able to collect monetary damages if the attorney did violate ethical or professional rules that hurt your case.
This article was written by Anna Navarra – an attorney with LosAngelesPersonalInjuryAttorneys.com