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Can a court appointed attorney be reported to the mass bar association for negligence?

Springfield, MA |

my attorney did not speak to me about trial until the day of trial and i gave him information to pursue and he did not. he also did not inform me of the witnesses against me

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Attorney answers 6

Posted

As a general rule bar associations enforce rules of professional conduct. As such, a complaint for "negligence" if phrased so broadly might not get the same attention as a complaint alleging specific violations of the ethical rules. Be assured that "zealous" of "diligent" representation of, and reasonable communication with, a client are common if not universal ethical obligations of an attorney.

Best wishes for an outcome you can accept, and please remember to designate a best answer.

This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.

E. Alexandra Golden

E. Alexandra Golden

Posted

Please note that the bar associations in Massachusetts are NOT responsible for enforcing ethical standards -- that is the arena of the Board of Bar Overseers.

Posted

Your attorney has state-imposed responsibilities as court-appointed counsel. You can report him/her to CPCS (publiccounsel.net), as the agency that contracts private counsel and oversees state-employed public defenders. You can also report him to the BBO(massbbo.org) . The Mass Bar Association is not the correct entity.

I'm sorry you had this experience. The network of counsel that provides counsel to indigent defendants is very capable and provides excellent representation, generally.

Providing users with information is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. However, if in reading my response, you are interested in retaining me to represent you, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Posted

All attorneys, court appointed or not, are subject to ethical guidelines that if not followed, ae subject to review. You should file a complaint with the Board of Bar Overseers if you feel that your attorney has failed you or done something unethical, including the language from Attorney Sinclair's answer. If this had an effect on the outcome of your case, which I assume it did, you should seek alternate representation and maybe have your case reviewed. You could also file a complaint for legal malpractice against that attorney but such cases are generally difficult to prove in that you have to show not only that the attorney acted wrongfully as compared to other attorneys in his or her position and that without that wrongful conduct you would have won your case. Either way, you should get another attorney to review your case as soon as possible because appeals or motions after trial can be time sensitive. Best of luck.

Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. (It lets us know how we are doing.) Attorney Kremer is licensed to practice in Massachusetts. Please visit her Avvo profile for contact information. In accordance with Avvo guidelines, the following disclaimer applies to all responses given in this forum: The above is NOT legal advice, and is NOT intended to be legal advice. No Attorney-Client relationship is created through the above answer.

Posted

He has certain professional and ethical responsibilities to you as his client. You should contact the Committee for Public Counsel Services about your concerns. However, not following up on certain information you provide to him does not necessarily mean that he was "negligent." The attorney would know what is and is not relevant and admissible in your case based on his theory of the case, so if your information did not go along with the theory of the case he was pursuing then he wouldn't need to pursue it.

William A. Jones Jr.

William A. Jones Jr.

Posted

While I certainly agree that counsel is not required to follow the wishes of his/her client as to strategic matters, is counsel not obligated to explain to the client why a different course of action makes more sense?

Benjamin Urbelis

Benjamin Urbelis

Posted

Yes I agree with that. I'd assume that when the client said "here's some information to pursue", the attorney said at least something like "actually that isn't worth pursuing because..." If the attorney led the client to believe he WAS going to pursue a lead but didn't, that's a whole different story.

William A. Jones Jr.

William A. Jones Jr.

Posted

NP, we're on the same page. If I hadn't heard similar stories countless times over the many years I've been in practice, I'd have a difficult believing the questioner's assertions, however, I have and I do. Sad situation.

Posted

So what happened at trial???

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Henry Lebensbaum

Henry Lebensbaum

Posted

Yes and to the office of the county bar advocates

Posted

I join in the question posed by Attorney Lebensbaum. If you were convicted then you need to focus on what your options are at this point. You may have either direct or collateral appeal rights in which the reported failings of trial counsel may be used to help obtain relief for you from the conviction. There are strict time limitations that apply to such procedures, so my suggestion is that you start interviewing lawyers immediately. Most here will provide you with a free consultation, so take advantage of that opportunity to gain insights now in the context of a private conversation.

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