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What if I have a problem with my lawyer?
Sometimes, for any number of
reasons, you might find that you are dissatisfied with the lawyer that
you have chosen. Depending on the problem, you have a number of options.
If you are unhappy with the way your lawyer is handling your case, say so. Maybe the lawyer simply is not in touch with you as often as you would like, and the two of you may be able to work out a solution. Or perhaps you and your lawyer simply disagree on how to proceed. If you cannot reach a workable solution with your lawyer, you are free to change lawyers, but keep in mind that you probably will have to pay for the work that has been done and the new lawyer will also charge you for the time required to come up to speed on your case. If you decide to make a change, the first lawyer must send your file to the new lawyer, and you will likely have to ask the lawyer to do so in writing.
What if you and your lawyer have a disagreement over the fee? If you cannot settle the problem by yourselves, many states offer a fee arbitration service through the local bar organization. Call your local bar for more details.
You may also believe your lawyer mishandled your case, either through negligence or incompetence. In such circumstances, there are two options you might pursue. First, you can consult with a different attorney who can give you a better assessment of the situation, including an opinion as to whether you may have an action for legal malpractice. Another possibility is filing a complaint with the state's bar oversight organization. In some states, the bar oversight organization maintains a fund to help compensate clients whose funds were taken by an unethical lawyer. In order to protect your rights, you should get in touch with another lawyer promptly.
Keep in mind that in the overwhelming majority of cases, lawyers and their clients have good relationships and there is no need for any action to be taken against the lawyer.