Every day I get at least one search string from a plaintiff about a lawyer not returning his or her phone calls. The tenor of the question is, What can I do if my lawyer doesn’t call me back?
Today I picked up this story from the New York Law Journal, about a lawyer who not only didn’t call his clients back; he “neglected” them. Well, “neglect” is a cozy word for what he did, and indeed he has been disbarred.
His excuses for ignoring his cases were pretty dramatic but, unsurprisingly, did not win the Disciplinary Committee’s heart. (Assuming the Disciplinary Committee has one unified heart, i.e., see →, NYS Unified Court System.)
I have known some negligent lawyers, lazy lawyers, bad lawyers and sleazy lawyers. This case is extreme in its bad lawyerness.
It does read as if there was a virtual class action − the “class” being this guy’s clients − against him. It does make me wonder, though: if a lawyer isn’t taking care of your case in a way that satisfies you, how do you know if his other clients are in the same boat? Is this a chronic situation? And how would one client gather a group of angry clients to complain together?
I’m guessing that a client can’t, and that it’s left to the Disciplinary Committee to aggregate client complaints.
I suppose we can all read this and say, “Gee, at least my lawyer isn’t that bad!”
Oh let’s not go that far. If you are having trouble communicating with your lawyer, let me point you to my series of posts here on Sidebar under the category “Problems with your lawyer,” which leads a plaintiff through filing a complaint in the Disciplinary Committee.