Ethical/Unethical Lawyer Behavior?

Asked over 6 years ago - Atlanta, GA

My sister and I recently had to obtain a lawyer for my 80-year-old father who was injured in a car accident for which he was not at fault. The lawyer presented himself very well at initial consultation. Now that the work has begun, we've become concerned about his performance.

I recently called on my father's behalf (from my mother and father's home - with the two of them sitting right there with me) to inquire about a letter he'd sent us and about the case and some of the things he was advising. He became very agitated when I questioned him about his advice. During the conversation he said some things that were very alarming to me. By the end of the conversation, he had spiraled out of control and I had to continuously ask him to agree to end the call because he was "out of sorts."

I told him that he was yelling and that I thought we should end the call until he was more calm (another day). He just kept yelling that he was not angry, but that I was. I finally was able to get him off the phone. The next day my father received a certified letter from the lawyer stating that I was very abusinve and beligerent with him and that he would not take any calls from me and that I could not come to his office, etc.
My parents were shocked at the letter, since they were sitting right there with me during the conversation.
Is this ethical behavior? Is he allowed to make these false claims to get out of answering my questions? What recourse do I have?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Anthony John Colleluori

    Contributor Level 15

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    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . After 25 years of being involved with representing people, I have learned that there are two sides to every story. Nevertheless, to answer your question:
    1. Have Dad and Mom execute a letter to the lawyer sent certified and tell him to stop working on the file immediately. Then tell him a new lawyer will be taking over the file. Then go get a new lawyer.

    IF everything you said is true, you might be able to file a grievence against him. YOu could have both mom and dad give you a limited power of attorney, which would allow you to act on their behalf as to the lawsuit. Then the lawyer would have to respond to your questions.

    Good luck

  2. Robert S. Bennett

    Contributor Level 10

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    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . I can only answer this question from the perspective of Texas Law and it may or may not have application in Georgia, and based only on the facts as you presented them ( probably no recording was made of the conversation). To answer you questions: First, an abusive or disruptive or angry attorney is not acting in an ethical manner; so the behaviour is not ethical. Second, such behaviour is not an excuse for an attorney to fail to communicate with you. It is unethical for him not to answer you in a manner that insures you will understand. Third, in Texas if you terminate an attorney without cause, he can still maintain an interest in your case, and another attorney may not be interested in taking your case if the previous attorney is still claiming a 1/3 or more interest. Thus, if the attorney continues to improperly discharge his responsibilities to you and your family, you need to ask him to withdraw and relinquish any interest he has in your family's file. His failure to do so may become the subject of a grievance and you should consult with an attorney in Georgia about filing a complaint with the Georgia Bar Association.

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