Based on 11 reviews
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The review prior to mine is very accurate. I had the same experience. Family law.
During the initial consultation, he was empathic and appear to be so concern about my interest. Money given (albeit we agreed to a fix rate, I received a bill with charges over the agreed fee - see review prior to this for description of such charges). No input from him on the development of the case. Met with him to follow up (waited a good 45 min even with appointment) and he appeared to have just woken up (that's fine but I could have sworn I smelled alcohol eminating from him). Appeared disoriented and did not seem to know about my case. I repeated the whole situation to him again. During the trial, It appeared to me that he was working for the other party as there was no effort at all to argue my interest and agreed to all of the other party's lawyer. I felt there were no effort made to make or defend my case. I could have done pro per and saved me my hard earned money, or paid someone else that would have fought or at least made an effort to argue my interest.
The experience with John Balent was unpleasant and expensive with no value whatsoever, his representation amounted to massive and unnecessary loses as opposed to if he had never been hired, as he pushed for an unnecessary trial.
John Balent Promised the world at hire for a flat fee, but didn't honor that flat fee and made error after error on the case. By the time he managed to send a statement to the correct address (His staff claimed they went to the wrong address) his billing exceeded the flat fee quoted by 300%. His billing was also impossible to understand lumping multiple tasks onto every line of the statement making accountability for any given task or work product impossible. Terms like "Review File," "Memo to File" and "Prepare Strategy" were used on almost every line as well.
John Balent also caused the loss of COBRA insurance coverage by mailing out time sensitive documents to the wrong address. He made an error on a stipulation that cost me $30,000 in community assets that could not be corrected.
He was also entirely unprepared for hearings and at trial and was always calling me into his office for a consultation to have me repeat the same things over to him that had been explained to him in previous office visits. At trial he continually told the court the matter was a short cause trial, causing the court to have to continue the matter 7 times because the court had not allotted enough time on it's calendar based on the continuing claim it was a short cause action. I believe he did this to rack up fees.
Since his hired I've discovered that he had been brought up on charges in State Bar Court twice and disciplined in the past. I also discovered that he had been sued multiple times for malpractice and although he claimed to have a practice exclusive to family law (as I was looking for an attorney who focused only on family law), but it turns out, if you search his name on the Orange County Superior Court website, he appears to have been doing personal injury law since at least the 1980's.
So with regard to the ratings this website asks you rate John Balent,
He was absolutely untrustworthy.
He was not responsive to anything of importance specially time sensitive issues.
Although he sound knowledgeable at hire, he later made some very odd statements during later office visits that made me question if he really had a law degree.
He did not keep me informed on anything, especially his billing.
I do not recommend anyone hire this attorney.
John Balent is a dedicated, skilled professional lawyer. He takes the time to clearly understand the needs of each child and to guide the parent through the system. He represented me for 3 years in obtaining custody of my children. My ex was violent and had signficant finances. I was lucky to have John represent me in meetings and in court. He worked to keep me and my children safe and helped me obtain a signed custody agreement and child support.
Mr. Balent represented me in a divorce and did an outstanding job. I felt that he really cared about my situation and that I was not just another case. He kept me informed and involved in my case. He welcomed by input and I felt like he was a partner in my dispute. His diligence resulted in a very favorable outcome. I highly recommend his services.
I hired Mr. Balent a few months ago in regards to an exparte where my wife was accusing me of domestic violence to get me removed from my home. This was all false accusations and very humiliating for me. Mr. Balent was kind and informed me of my rights and gave great legal advise. I hired Mr. Balent to appear on my behalf and no restraining orders were filed and no domestic violence orders. I was able to stay in my home with my children. I retained Mr. Balent again and I am in the process of a divorce which is going quite smoothly considering my very difficult ex.
I hired Mr. Balent over a year ago for a guardianship that was very difficult and the Law Office of John Balent answered so many of my questions before I retained him which helped tremendously. Mr. Balent put our minds at ease throughout this family law process. Even after the Judgment was filed Mr. Balent was always available for any of our questions. Mr. Balent is very professional and he has a great office.
I had a great experience with attorney John Balent. I hired him for a child custody/divorce matter and Mr. Balent was quick to accommodate my family law needs without the stress of dealing with my ex-wife. My children and their needs came first and I could not have asked for better results. I have referred my co-worker for her paternity matter and she was surprised of his free consultation where he spent a good amount of time with her at no charge.
I retained Mr. Balent to represent my nephew in a guardianship where my sister-in -law passed away suddenly. Mr. Balent was knowledgeable and we could not have asked for an easier process during a very uncomfortable family issue. I have referred by good friend to this office and she also has had only good results.
I was referred to Mr. Balent by an acquaintence from church. After 1 1/2yrs of Mr. Balent as my attorney, 18K$ in fees, he convinced me to give up the % of overtime in support that had been granted me by the court. My marriage was bifurcated and progressed to a trial. Mr. Balent showed up to court without any documents, completely unprepared, and had told me not to show up. My trial was started anyway, my ex husband was pro per and I was cross-examined by him. Mr. Balent did nothing to prevent this situation. I was forced to hire another attorney mid trial. Mr. Balent did not fulfill his contract, never advocated for me or my children, and was never prepared. He told me I would never get the support that I was entitled to. I know three other women who hired, then fired him for mismanagement. You do NOT want to hire this attorney unless you like to throw hard earned money away to someone who does not do the work they promise.
I recommend John Balent and would refer a family member, friend, or anyone to him. I was privileged to have John Balent represent me with great success with my very stressful divorce. I am honored to know him as he is an exceptional family law attorney.