If you are involved in a lawsuit, a criminal case or some other legal matter, you depend on the efforts and the expertise of your attorney. No matter your circumstances, having capable and effective legal representation is crucial. Unfortunately, sometimes a client does not obtain appropriate representation from her lawyer. If you are in such a position, it is important to understand the basics of how to fight bad legal representation.
Write a letter to your attorney explaining in clear terms why you believe his representation is inadequate. You do not have to provide your attorney with a chance to improve his performance. You can fire your attorney with no advance notice and without providing a specific reason for the termination. With that said, if you are in the middle of an ongoing court case--criminal or civil--you will need permission from the judge to change lawyers.
Contact the judge's office if you do have an ongoing case. Advise the judge's administrative assistant that you are dissatisfied with the representation your attorney is providing. The judge cannot speak with you personally without the attorney for the other party present. Therefore, the judge's office will either schedule your case for a special hearing on the subject of your attorney or will schedule a phone conference with all parties to take up the issue of your concerns about your representation.
File a complaint with the office of attorney supervision or discipline. Every state maintains such an agency through which a client can lodge a complaint. You can obtain contact information for this office from the clerk of the state supreme court. (The once exception is in New York, where you obtain contact information for attorney regulation services from the clerk of the appellate division of the court system.) The attorney supervision office will provide you with a standard form on which you can present your complaint.
File a malpractice lawsuit against your attorney. If you are intent on pursuing a malpractice suit against your lawyer, you seriously need to consider engaging the services of an experience legal malpractice attorney.
- Model Code of Professional Responsibility
- "If You Want to Sue a Lawyer: A Directory of Legal Malpractice Attorneys;" Kay Ostberg & Richard Hebert; 1995