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My lawyer stopped contacting me and is now attempting to sue me after dropping my case. She failed to communicate. Can she win?

Seattle, WA |

So I got rear-ended and attempted to sue the person. I didn't file a police report. I got an ambulance-chaser (one of the back of the paper personal injury attorneys).

The other party denied all liability. The case got tied up. My lawyer stopped communicating.

I tried several times to contact her. She basically ignored me. Finally I threatened to file a grievance with the state bar association and she threatened to drop my case.

I got mad. I filed a grievance. Now she's trying to subpoena me.

There is a section in my state's RCW that says (I'm paraphrasing): "A lawyer has a duty to provide reply to his or her client in a timely fashion".

I have several emails I sent requesting updates. She simply ignored them for months.

Does she have a chance? Can my wages be garnished?

She is trying to collect for the work she did before she dropped my case. Sorry I meant the: RPC 1.4 COMMUNICATION (a) A lawyer shall: (1) promptly inform the client of any decision or circumstance with respect to which the client's informed consent, as defined in Rule 1.0(e), is required by these Rules; (2) reasonably consult with the client about the means by which the client's objectives are to be accomplished; (3) keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter; (4) promptly comply with reasonable requests for information; and (5) consult with the client about any relevant limitation on the lawyer's conduct when the lawyer knows that the client expects assistance not permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law. (b) A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Of course your lawyer has "a chance" but one would have to know more facts to analyze or evaluate. If you try to defend against a lawyer without a lawyer, it will not be easy. This matter with your "old" lawyer would probably get settled if your "new" lawyer intervenes.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  2. It depends upon what she claims on her complaint. However, she would have to get a judgment against you before she can attempt to garnish your wage. You should consult with attorneys in your area.

    This is general information, not legal advice. This does not establish any attorney client relationship.


  3. "There is a section in my state's RCW that says (I'm paraphrasing): "A lawyer has a duty to provide reply to his or her client in a timely fashion"." There is no such section in the Revised Codes of Washington.

    On another hand, the Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys do require that attorney "(3) keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter". RPC 1.4. The RPCs are at http://www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/?fa=court_rules.list&group=ga&set=RPC .

    The reason why I wrote the above is that you need to hire an attorney. If you do not know the laws and the rules, you likely will lose the case even if your case has merits.

    If the WA State Bar Association investigated your complaint and did not fault the attorney, you may in fact end up owing the attorney her fees. The WSBA is the entity in WA that licenses and regulates attorneys in WA on behalf of the WA Supreme Court.

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