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Please Help: Would this be consider ethical?

Discussion in 'Lawyers, Legal Practice, Ethics & the Bar' started by Phill, May 17, 2012.

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  1. Phill

    Phill Law Topic Starter New Member

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    A client hires a law firm to handle a dispute. The client signs a agreement with the firm outlining the cost, what the client must be responsible for (cost wise) and etc.

    The lawyer assigned to the case would periodicity send the client letter about the case and how it was proceeding. He would mention evidence found, what he was proving in the case and more. At the time the client really thought it was really happening; which wasn't the case at all.

    The case is ready to go to a judge and the attorney wrote the client a letter advised the client to resolve the matter and don't take it to trial. In this very same letter he advised the client that the decision is in their hand and they have no obligation to resolve the matter and can proceed to trial. The client would like to go to trial. He writes his attorney a letter asking him some questions and aiming about going to trial.

    The attorney writes back stating that he will withdraw from the case (after handling it for a few years) if he doesn't to resolve the matter outside of trial. Keep in mind that the client knows nothing about the legal proceedings and depends on his attorney to inform him with information to make proper decision; after all this is the reason for hiring attorneys.

    The attorney failed to tell the client that he would have to file an order to show cause to withdrawal as counsel. This would include a hearing with the judge. The attorney present it in a way that would have the client believe he would be stranded without an attorney and on the hunt to seek another lawyer when trial is coming soon around the corner.

    The client agrees once the attorney present the client with this threat. The attorney is paid what was agreed upon as the retainer agreement stated.

    The now former client decides and get the urge to see the case file. The client obtained a copy of what is allege to be the "whole" case file from his now former attorney. He lawyer was quite nervous about giving a copy to the client.

    Upon looking at the case file; the client now realize that the lawyer was lying in those letters. About evidence, what he was proving and etc. The client now suspects that the attorney did't tell the client about proceeding about the withdrawal because than there is a good chance the client agree to the it and would have to go to the hearings. So he threatens the client and takes advantage that the client doesn't the ins and outs of the legal proceedings.

    This would have increase the chances of the attorney lies being exposed at the hearings required and taking it to trial would have exposed the lies as well.

    The would have give the client cause to discharge the attorney. And according to the retainer would forfeit the fees of the attorney; if the client discharge the attorney for cause.

    The client is more disappoint that the attorney could profit close to $20,000 for doing such act to a client. The client has been looking up disgorgement of attorney fees for breach of fiduciary duty and learned that actual damages isn't required but only showing that the attorney breach of fiduciary duty.

    Its probably not worth a lot to a malpractice lawyer to handle such case. Should the client write the senior partners of the law firm with the evidence (letters) which is completely different from the case file? The senior partners might not have a clue about how their employee is doing things? Do you think the client has a chance to resolve the matter on their own?

    Do you think the attorney was wrong and why? If he was wrong; why would he do it in writing when it can come back and used as evidence?

    I haven't filed a complaint with the grievance committee as of yet. I was waiting to see if this can be resolved first; would this be a good idea?

    I personally don't see how it is write to profit $20,000 for doing such to a client. Than take advantage of the lack of legal knowledge the client has (which would defeat the whole purpose of hiring an attorney) just so you can secure money in the form of attorney fees and etc.

    Thank you for your help and sorry for the long post.
  2. disagreeable

    disagreeable Well-Known Member

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    Your recourse in a situation like this is to file a complaint with the Bar. Based in part on their action, you could also file suit for recovery of monies paid.

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