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How can I file charges against a lawyer or should I

Lake Placid, NY |
Filed under: Professional ethics

A laywer took my sons case of filing an apeal for him in a divorce case in ny state. He had 9 mos. to do this. My son has been tring to get answers from him and got none, now he found out when he called the court that, nothing was ever filed and it is to late, can he get his $3000 back? and what does he do now.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. There are two issues. First is the attorney neglected the case, and is refusing to return the money You should file a grievance with the Office of Court Administration. There is an office in New York and I believe one in Albany. The OCA regulates attorney conduct and will perform an investigation. The second issue is one of legal malpractice. By missing a filing deadline, the attorney likely committed legal malpractice. Whether you can recover or not depends on how valid the appeal was. In other words had the attorney timely filed the appeal, would have your son obtained relief from the Appellate Court. If you can demonstrate that (which is not always easy) you may be able to recover damages. You should meed with an attorney that handles legal malpractice in your area. If you are unable to find one, I'd be happy to discuss the case with you, but given the distance to Lake Placid, and the difficulty in bringing legal malpractice cases (plus my inherent dislike of doing so -- I see it as a necessary evil), I do not envision being able to take the case.


  2. I believe you are in Essex County. The starting point would be:

    Committee on Professional Standards
    40 Steuben Street, Suite 502
    Albany, NY 12207
    (518) 285-8350

    Here is a link that will get you started: http://www.nycourts.gov/ad3/cops/index.html

    Your alternative is to hire a p[rivate lawyer, and the amount involved may not be worth it. Check with the Court -- many states have a fund created from attorney dues to make sure clients who are ripped off can get reimbursed at least in part.

    Good luck to you.

    The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  3. You can file a grievance through your Appellate Division discipliniary committee regarding the failure to time perfect the appeal because the Court will look to see if the lawyer neglected the case. Normally, disciplinary committees do not get involved in fee disputes but may in your case because it's related to the neglect issue. The committee can better tell you and if they don't, they will tell you where to go.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 385-8015 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

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