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Posted by a Elder Law client,
To make an appointment with Atty. Surprenant, his office required a credit card guarantee with a week's notice required for cancellation. Otherwise, I was told the card account would be charged for $250 for time lost. After much frustration and presumed miscommunication arranging a consultation, I finally considered myself officially a client of Atty. Surprenant’s after submitting the credit card guarantee and the required intake forms. I was greatly relieved to finally have the attorney who would help me. His office called me at 4:30 PM yesterday to confirm today's appointment. I said I would absolutely be there. The appointment was at their Hyannis office, but I had indicated I was willing to travel to their headquarters in New Bedford. This was a critically important meeting to me and I diligently prepared for it. His office called at 8:50 AM this morning, the day of my early afternoon appointment. He was reportedly caught up in court and would not be able to make it back in time to see me. I was offered the choice to see another attorney instead of Atty. Surprenant, but not for 8 days! I later learned that this other lawyer is an associate of the firm who is only a year or so out of law school. Perhaps he is good, but still, this makes a statement.
To back up a bit, prior to this appointment, I made three online requests for consultation. One of them was through Atty. Surprenant's very website. Over a period of a couple of weeks, I got no response until my third request. I submitted that one through Avvo. I then heard directly from Atty. Surprenant by email. He very briefly, but politely apologized about the lost online requests and stated that somebody would get in touch to get me set up for a consultation with him. My assumption was that I would get that call the next day. I waited two business days and heard nothing. After a subsequent weekend also passed as well as part of a Monday, I contacted his office again. They said they did not have my phone number and that they therefore had been unable to get in touch with me. I put my phone number on each of the online consultation requests and even if all those requests truly had been lost, they had my email address. They could have contacted me and simply asked me to call them. My approach has always been to take the high road and I gave them the benefit of doubt. Yet, in examining the entire picture in the aftermath, I believe most anyone would see an ongoing pattern of avoidance. I decided it was in my best interests to call and cancel the appointment with the associate attorney and I did.
Through a series of recent misfortunes, I am newly disabled and unable to work. I feel a sense of desperation for guidance with Medicaid planning and other legal/financial matters. I filled out a lengthy set of forms for his firm as required. I diligently focused on gathering the information in order to complete them responsively, thoroughly and timely. I returned them less than 24 hours after I received them. Those forms clearly stated the objectives for my association with Atty. Surprenant. They also stated my assets. Had he reviewed them (I hope he did), it would have been clear to Atty. Surprenant that I could not afford every possible service he could offer me. I risked forfeiting $250 in the unlikely event I got sick or my car broke down. Yet, Atty. Surprenant cancelled me. The provocative question that comes to my mind is should he pay ME $250? Actually, I do not want that. I can’t begin to put a price tag on my sense of desperation for answers and delayed hope for peace of mind. I now have wasted almost a month. I have to start from scratch trying to find an area attorney who is genuinely interested in helping me. I do not have many resources for attorney referrals. I trusted my instincts that Atty. Surprenant was going to be the right lawyer for me, but I was wrong. Now, I am too hurt to do anything but write this review.