I am plaintiff in a civil case, and am represented by an attorney. Do I have a right to be personally present along with my attorney at pre-trial hearings? Do I have a right to receive reasonable advance notice of hearings so I can attend?
If I do have such a right, what happens if this right is ignored by the Court and my attorney? Do I have any recourse?
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
You are a party to the lawsuit so you may attend. Is there a right? Yes. do you have recourse regarding advance notice? Contact your attorney and tell them that you want to go to the hearings.
Many times the client is not needed at the hearings. The client is not allowed to speak, and many times (vast majority) hearings are about technical issues like discovery or the admissibility of evidence.
Your curiousity is understandable and you should contact your attorney, but I tell all of my clients that unless I tell them they have to go to court they should not attend. they just get in the way and cause delay in the proceedings.
For the majority of motions or other court proceedings there is never a hearing. The attorneys settle issues with some regularity and there is never an appreance before the Court.
Write your attorney and ask questions about the proceedings. I am sure they will respond and satisfy your need for information.
Insurance Law Lawyer
If you want to attend the hearing on your case you can do so. However, this is not the usual and customary practice. Once you hire an attorney, the attorney is the one that attends the hearings on your behalf. Further, the Court and opposing counsel notify your attorney of the the hearing, since the attorney is representing you. If your attendance is required, then your attorney will let you know.
You need to speak with your attorney -- it appears you have expectations that s/he is not meeting and you should discuss this with your lawyer so you both can decide how to proceed.
If I'm reading between the lines here, your attorney may not be keeping you abreast of developments in your case and you want to keep closer tabs on him/her. You certainly have a right to know what's going on in your case and I recommend you call the attorney and tell him/her that you need to be kept informed. I agree, however, with my colleagues who have already responded that ordinarily you are not required to be at any court hearings unless it is an "evidentiary" hearing or trial where evidence will be admitted and testimony taken.
Now if your attorney is ignoring your requests for a status on your case then you need to find a new attorney. Note though, that if you fire your attorney, the attorney may have a lien on your file which means he/she could require you to pay all costs to date before he/she gives your file back to you. Additionally, before the attorney gives up your file he/she may be entitled to be paid any outstanding fees, and in some cases, may be entitled to be paid for his/her services if you receive a settlement. These are things you should discuss with another attorney before you fire your present one.
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