Filing a grievance against a lawyer 1

The more potent is a man, the less accustomed to endure injustice, and the more his power to inflict it, – the greater is the sting and the greater the astonishment when he himself is made to suffer. – Anthony Trollope, Phineas Redux 

Here’s how to file a grievance against your potent lawyer, whereupon you will astonish him greatly.

Note: Everything below pertains to New York State alone. But as I’ve said before, I’m pretty sure your state has a similar system, whatever they call it. You’ll find it. I trust. I hope. If not, you’d better start changing the court system in your state. But hey ho, that’ll be up to you.

Do this:

  1. Go → to my Sites of Interest where you will find the NYS Unified Court System link. Click on it.
  2. Now click on the Attorneys link.
  3. Click on the Attorney Directory and fill in that strange request to copy those bunched up letters (called “captcha”).
  4. Now you’ll see a couple of easy fill-in boxes, called Attorney Search. Fill in your attorney’s name.
  5. Up will come a strip filled with info: your attorney’s name, registration number, city, state, year admitted, and his registration status (if it doesn’t read “currently admitted,” you’ve got a really potent grievance). Copy (or print out) this information.
  6. Now click on further information, i.e., the lawyer’s highlighted name. You’ll get the address and the Appellate division department of admission (this will be a number: 1, 2, 3 and the like). Underneath, you’ll see further information about how to contact the individual Appellate Divisions to confirm the attorney’s good standing and/or disciplinary actions. But if he’s currently registered, any disciplinary actions that have been taken against him may not be relevant to you at this point. (In fact, this is the resource you should check before you hire an attorney. Did I? Nah. I’m still kicking myself.)
  7. Now go back to the Attorney page. Roll your cursor over that Client/Attorney Relationship item. Click on Attorney Grievance Committees.
  8. You’ll see a list of appellate divisions with addresses and phone numbers. You will file your complaint in the Appellate Department where your lawyer has his office.
  9. Now click on the Department/County where your lawyer has his office. Copy or print out the address.
  10. Now hit “Introduction.” Read it; it’s very helpful and is written for us laymen. (If you want to further your grievance, i.e., give yourself grief, you can read the Conduct of Attorneys segment. It’s apparently written primarily for lawyers.)
  11. Then click on the Complaint against lawyers brochure. (Don’t be possessed to open in pdf; I tried it once. Open “normally.”) Print it out (the First Department brochure is only 13 pages and I’m sure the other departments conform).
  12. Now go back to previous (main) page (Appellate Division, Department Disciplinary Committee.) Go down to Complaint Form. Click on it and print it out.

You now have everything you’ll need to file your complaint. Next, I’ll lead you through the process and then give you an actual complaint I prepared.

P.S. In case you think my word-by-word, step-by-step writing is irritatingly condescending, let me explain why I do it this way.

A number of months ago, my VCR-DVD broke. I trotted over to P.C. Richard and bought a new one.

Throughout my entire life, I have hooked up all my electronics myself. Such things do not faze me. I don’t need a 10 year old boy. I’m your essential 10 year old boy, when it comes to this stuff.

I opened the instruction booklet. A few weeks later, I returned the player. I wasn’t able to translate the booklet into intelligible language: I couldn’t get the damn thing set up.

“Ya go to B&H”? I did and bought another DVD recorder-player. I made one of the salesmen draw out the hook-up scheme. When I didn’t understand the words he used, I asked him to translate. Confident, I lugged the thing home. I don’t remember how quickly it was before I returned that one, too.

Currently, I have no player-recorder. I was therefore unable to record the Giants’ playoff run and Super Bowl win. I will have to buy the Giants’ DVDs. But I can’t buy the DVD’s until I get over my trauma and buy a player upon which I can play them.

That’s why I write this out so pedantically. I am, in effect, translating those miserably written DVD player-recorder instruction booklets in a way that most of us can follow. I mean, someone has to do it.

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