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What to do if a lawyer lies to you about a law

Birmingham, AL |

Lawyer lied to us about a law. He told us that at age 13 a child can choose a parent to live with. This is not true. Can he be held accountable for lying

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Have you confronted your lawyer with these misstatements about the law? I would.

Did your lawyer intend to deceive you or was he recklessly making statements about the law that he did not know for sure? Either way, you can fire your attorney and obtain a new one. You may be able to recover your loss (attorneys fees paid) if he told you this in the hopes of getting your business that you otherwise would not have given him. You would need to speak with an Alabama malpractice attorney. That is, if you cannot reconcile the problem with your attorney, or if you need to fire him, I suggest you contact another more reputable, more knowledgable Alabama attorney. There are some good Avvo Alabama attorneys who you could call for a free consultation I'm sure. Also, The Cochran Firm has several offices in Alabama and I know them to have a good reputation with their clients.


A lawyer that lies to his clients should be immediately reported to the state bar association. The state bar association has an entire system for clients that report lying and cheating attorneys.

That said, attorneys do make mistakes. You should have written proof of the attorneys bad advice. If the attorneys' advice is negligent, you could have a case directly against the attorney. If your attorney violated professional standards, you may be able to recover money from the negligent attorney.


Call disciplinary board


IMHO your question (and the lawyer responses already posted here) are significant overreactions to the facts that you have summarized. In your state, some courts will routinely give credence to the stated wish of the child on this issue. Other courts will in some circumstances give some deference to the child's stated wishes. In every case, the court will be willing to hear and know the preference of a child of that age.

You know, not every statement, prediction, or judgment call that turns out to be wrong, partially or wholly, is a lie. Not every wrong statement merits a State investigation by the attorney regulatory apparatus. Sometimes people -- even attorneys -- are just wrong, in part or in whole. Sometimes they are mistaken, or the facts have changed since they made the statement. Sometimes, the question or premise was misunderstood and the answer would have been true but for that misunderstanding. Sometimes the client asks the wrong question, or doesn't provide all of the relevant details in the question. Sometimes the client misunderstands the answer. Sometimes the client is wrong in deciding that the attorney's answer is wrong. Not every inaccurate statement is a death penalty offense, folks.

Your state bar knows this stuff.

And as for firing your attorney over this "lie," do you know how many competent attorneys want to work for a client who considers every mistake or prediction that doesn't pan out a lie? Good luck to you.

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.

Kenneth Bruce Fenelon

Kenneth Bruce Fenelon


Oops. I don’t think we’ve answered your question yet. Can your lawyer be held accountable for lying? The answer is: Yes, but it would be up to a judge (in a malpractice case) or a disciplinary board (upon a report to the disciplinary board) to determine whether he should be. Lawyers are not perfect, and as Christine indicates above, neither are all clients. But I think the issue here is whether lawyers are licensed to lie through their teeth. And they are not. If a lawyer says: "Client, I know what the law is and the law says that in this state a child at the 13 year old child gets to choose what parent he lives with" and it turns out that in that state only that sometimes a 13 year old's preference matters because its really up to the judge to decide, then I think the lawyer's imperfection is at issue, not the client's. What step you needs to take next depends on the circumstances and intentions that we don't know. You said your attorney lied to you and found it serious enough to address on Avvo. So some of us have taken that statement seriously, and have discussed those possibilities if your attorney intentionally or recklessly deceived you. I’ll summarize options: 1. Set up a conference with your lawyer and discuss the subject of your post. Maybe it was a misunderstanding after all. If not fire him, then: 2. If you believe that your attorney intentionally or recklessly lied to you, contact the disciplinary board. 3. If you are convinced that your attorney intentionally or recklessly lied to you to get your business, consider contacting a legal malpractice attorney. None of us (lawyers) like the sound of being reported to the state for discipline or sued for malpractice. It can have a long-lasting negative impacted on an attorney’s career. In this respect, I do appreciate what Christine has to say and I think you ought to give due consideration to your circumstances before acting. I do not intend to encourage a frivolous complaint to the board or malpractice lawsuit. But to answer your question, yes you can get help if you have a lying attorney. Hopefully, we've helped you out. Best of luck.

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