Right now, I have in front of me the First Department’s Departmental Disciplinary Committee’s Complaints Against Lawyers brochure (21 pages). You should have in front of you the brochure from the Department in which you’ll be filing your grievance (where your lawyer has his office). Although I haven’t yet decided to file a grievance against my lawyers, their offices are in Manhattan, i.e., the First Department.
Warning: I just noticed that when you print the First Department’s instructional brochure, the page-numbered columns, two per page, print in a totally crazy way. They are not consecutive. The odd numbered pages are printed out of order on the right column, the even numbers on the left. So pay attention to the page number at the top; you’ll have to search for the following page.
Additionally, I have in front of me the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department’s two-page complaint form, and you should have a similar form from the Department in which you’ll be filing your grievance. (The Third Department, in which I was going to file the grievance against Shmucksky, had, as of 2009, a really old fashioned form, with all sorts of elaborate verbiage.) The First Department’s form is simple and straight-forward. It assumes you’re not a lawyer. It has two pages. The first is a form to be filled out. The second is a blank lined page entitled “Complaint.”
Print out two copies of the form. You’ll use one as a draft. Write the draft. I’d suggest replicating the second page in your computer, without the lines, so you can edit carefully. Now tell your story, following the instructions at the bottom of the first page:
PLEASE PRINT LEGIBLY OR TYPE IN ENGLISH.
Start from the beginning and be sure to tell why you went to the attorney, when you had contact with the attorney, what happened each time you contacted the attorney, and what it was that the attorney did wrong. With this form, please send this office copies of all papers that you received from the attorney.
Well, I couldn’t have written that more clearly. And I couldn’t be more pleased that these instructions confirm why I told you to keep your time line up to date, and keep all your case documents in binders, if only for this purpose.
The reason they underlined “copies,” is because some people send their originals. And then maybe they get lost in the mail, and life becomes a wretched thing instead of a pursuit of justice, and there is a great deal of yelling and sobbing and threatening. All unnecessary: never send your original documents; make copies.
Oh, and of course, you’ll make a copy of your final complaint form and narrative page and put the copy into your binder.
Given the bolded instructions in caps at the bottom of the blank page — UNSIGNED COMPLAINTS WILL NOT BE PROCESSED — sign over the “Signature” line (I know you don’t need me to tell you this, but still…). Mail in the form and backup documentation, and wait to learn what happens.
That takes care of you. Now, in the interests of fairness, I have to give Dinkes & Schwitzer one more shot at sending me what I’ve requested — an explanation of some of the costs and expenses they want to charge to my case and have inserted in the draft OCA Closing Statement form. I have serious questions about some of those expenses, along the lines of “what is this for?” and “why is this so high?”, and want detailed explanations before I agree to settle my case.
Although I asked for the explanation in a letter, dated March 28, I’ve gotten no response. But as you all know, that’s been par for my course with Dinkes & Schwitzer.
Do you think that you, dear reader, will file a complaint against your lawyer before I file one against mine? Should we bet on this?