I retained Ms. Ward for a custody dispute that I was having with an ex-spouse. At the consultation, she said that she required $15,000 as a retainer, along with $250.00 for the initial consultation, despite being on the Orange County Superior Court's list of low cost attorneys with free consultations (where I originally obtained her name). My custody case has some serious unfounded accusations, and I needed help badly, so I obliged. At the time, money was tight and bills were barely being paid month to month without putting things on credit cards. My court hearing was three weeks away, and I stood to lose custody. I provided her the case file and she went to work. I talked with her staff multiple times over the next few weeks as she was assumingly preparing for court. I talked with her twice during this time. On the day of the hearing, she didn't show up to court. No call. No show. After nearly two hours of calls, I was able to reach her assistant. The exact phrase was, "You didn't get our message?". After much discussion, I was told that they had left a message for me the previous evening indicating that they needed additional funds before she would appear for me in court. She wanted another $25,000 for appearance fees and to work further on my case. Again, this was supposed to be the "low cost" attorney referral from the Orange County Superior Court. Several days after I lost custody in the hearing, Ms. Ward's office produced documents that detailed how she blew through $15,000 in less than two weeks of reviewing two volumes of my case and making a couple of 30 minute calls to opposing counsel and minor's counsel. I actually spent more time communicating with her office during the California Bar Complaint and Fee Arbitration Hearing than I did the entire time that she represented me. My next attorney called that the bait and switch. Lesson learned. Do your research on an attorney and do not hire one from a preverbial list of names. Suffice it to say, I spent the next decade trying to undo what I lost at that critical hearing. I am surprised that she is still practicing law, as her original sales pitch was that she was only taking my case out of the need to help the child, saying that she was close to retirement. I only wish that she could come face to face with my child and see the life that she forever changed for the worse. Sadly, this attorney used to be a Orange County Superior Court Judge.
Posted by a Domestic Violence client
I retained Ms. Ward nearly 10 yrs. ago. After working with Grainne I was very confident that I had found the right lawyer to represent me. I was confident that she knew what she was doing and that she was well educated, as well as well informed. I trusted that she would do her best to do what was best for my child. I was very distraught at the time and had alot of questions. Whenever I called or made any inquiry either she herself, or one of her staff got back to me immediately. I never felt like I was left in the dark, and although it was not a real pleasant experience in general, I must say I was pleased with my legal representation 100%. I write this now, actually because I am in need of representation again and if she is available, I would like nobody else to represent me, other than Ms. Ward!