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If I file a grievance against my attorney with the district ethics committee, is he still obliged to represent me ?

Verona, NJ |

I am in the middle of a nasty custody/divorce case. Communication with my lawyer has become impossible. His average response time (if he actually gives an answer) is two to three weeks. My case is stalled because of his attitude and I am suffering the consequences of this. I have tried to resolve the issues with him but that was unsuccessful. I do not have the money to get another lawyer and he needs Court Approval to drop my case, we are kind of stuck with each other and I believe he is taking advantage of that. I do not know how to get out of this mess, please help !

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Best answer

    I am not licensed in your state, but you should be looking for and find another attorney and file your grievance later. Take care of you first. Even if you can force your attorney to protect your interests while you do this, clearly the trust and confidence between you has been eroded.

  2. An attorney is not hostage to any client or matter. No client should try to hold an attorney hostage, even when there are sound financial problems that might make replacement counsel difficult. If you file a formal grievance against your attorney, realistically your attorney can no longer represent you to the degree of skill and care that you require. If the relationship can be salvaged, fine. If you must make a formal complaint, you must replace the complained of attorney. For both your sake and the lawyer's.

    No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. Send me an email to schedule a paid Consultation for that kind of information, direction, and assistance. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.

  3. You are not stuck with an attorney and an attorney is not stuck with a client. If you can't afford a new attorney, then presumably you can't afford your current attorney. Attorneys are not required to work for free - that alone would often allow a court to let him end the representation.

    Further, as soon as you file a grievance against him, that would also suffice as a reason to end the representation, which a court would grant.

    That said, an attorney has an obligation to keep a client informed and to respond timely.

    Each case is fact senstive, so all answers should be viewed as general advice only, and should never replace a thorough and in depth consultation with an experienced attorney. Further, an answer should not be seen as establishing an attorney-client relationship.

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