DO NOT HIRE THIS ATTORNEY
This attorney is a slow-witted litigant that refuses to acknowledge current case law. He will do absolutely nothing to improve your disposition once he is retained, and you can have the same result if you remain Pro Se.
He contends that there are no limits to the power exercised by family court trial judges and will do nothing to correct an injustice-a dangerous attitude for an attorney with a client who values their own interests. He will not fight for you! He is less knowledgeable than most learned lay-persons he represents. He is unresponsive, habitually late, poor at communicating with his client, and engages in repeated logical fallacies of assuming those who are not attorneys would not have any knowledge to impart. He refused to acknowledge the local rules of another county--he loves to talk about how they do it in Harris county (something every adjacent county court judge hates and regularly slams attorneys in court for assuming that the same rules apply). In his draft, "that (he) was paid to do," he screwed that up too! This is despite being told he was breaking the local rules (because it wasn't another attorney who told him).
He would argue that 2 + 2 equals 3 until another attorney says it's 13 (This number was deliberately chosen as it is even further from the truth). He will immediately trust that as canon and ignore you as you scream, "It's 4!" Here is my prediction for his latest debacle: The proposed order he drafted will be rejected, the alternative copy filed by opposing counsel will be accepted -- despite the inclusion of provisions that were never filed, tried, and ordered, because he refused to acknowledge the local rules. As a result, the petitioner will get away with not allowing visitation with the child this past Summer.
On an enforcement action he was paid to rewrite a Pro Se draft to ensure it would not be stricken. He took the Pro Se copy, added a sentence about attorney's fees, and filed it as is. It was stricken. So I am out money and no closer to holding my ex accountable for refusing to let me see my child this past Summer.
He values the word of opposing counsel over his own client and operates in an elitist manner assuming no one without a law degree could know better. He will not do research. He has refused to review the petitioner's proposed order, essentially going blind into a court room with no preparation to counter the other party's assertions. Any client of his will work harder than he does, and most efforts by his client will be centered on keeping him in line.
He is a mid-level paralegal at best. If you want to know exactly what it is like to be represented by him, don't show up to hearings, let the other side get everything they want by default, take about $1700, and then burn it. That is exactly the same result as retaining James Roark.
Response from James Roark January 27, 2015
I certainly disagree with this former client’s rendition of the matter, even aside from the rude remarks.
I was never retained to draft a motion for enforcement. The client prepared her own motion, filed it (pro se), then brought it to me telling me it had been served on the opposing party and a court date was set. I was retained to appear on that date and argue *her* motion. So when I appeared, I learned that the motion she gave me was one that she filed AFTER the one she had served on the other party. As a result, the court did not hear it.
Another complication in that case was that the court had ruled on a modification action 4 or 5 months previously and the client (pro se again) had been ordered to prepare the order. She had not done so.
I suggested she include a clause for attorney’s fees if she was going to file the same motion for enforcement again to have served. She agreed, but was still not willing to retain me to redraft the motion.
The court eventually struck most of the language in the motion for enforcement as not specific enough to enforce. The case was not dismissed, but would be if a more proper motion was not submitted. I spent almost an hour explaining why this document did not fly despite her having obtained the form from “reliable sources”.
The court set another date for the final modification order to be submitted. She retained me to prepare that document. We also agreed on a retainer fee for me to re-write the motion for enforcement to be done after the final order had been prepared and entered. I submitted a separate digital invoice for each and the retainer for preparing the final order was paid.
The client rejected several drafts of the proposed final order, insisting on language not contained in the court’s ruling. I apparently was not helping her husband’s grievance filed against her opposing counsel (I was asked to assist with that, also, but declined) by sticking to the court’s ruling . Then she told me her “other attorney” had told her that my first draft was what was needed and so to file that one (I guess that attorney knew what 2+2 was).
At this point, I cancelled my invoice for the retainer to re-write the motion for enforcement. I still prepared and filed the proposed order as I was hired to do. The client retained other counsel to appear for its entry and my draft was what was eventually entered. Thus, I was never retained to redraft her motion for enforcement.
Her other statements aren’t any more accurate, but they aren’t about anything that could be documented, including the dire predictions. I leave the rest of her statement to the reader to judge. I tried my best to satisfy the needs of this client, but most of the problems with this client’s case was due to her *pro se* representation before my involvement. The rest due to ignoring the advice of counsel in favor of her own legal “expertise”.