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Old 05-31-2012, 10:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Can my attorney do this? Is it misrepresentation?

The attorney I hired in my divorce was referred to me by my Crisis Center Advocate when I was in a shelter. At the time I was represented by legal aid, but they suggested I needed something more. He told the crisis center he would take my case pro bono, then told me to borrow money which I did. He told me he could handle my temporary issues (child support, spousal support and custody) for $3-$5000. I eventually paid him $5000 while eating at food banks. I took his advice and put all of my bills off while he arranged a hearing. He billed me 3 times what he should have by constantly changing lawyers on the case (even though he said he was handling it personally). He then impeded mediation and other attempts at negotiation by telling my husband's attorney there would be no agreement unless my husband paid the $18000 balance I owed (total legal bill for me $23,500- total bill for my husband $5000). He also tried to get me to move a product liability case I am the plaintiff in to one of his friends and pressured me to do so. After a botched hearing which was continued after 3 hours of testimony with no child support award, I finally gave up and decided to see if my husband and I could settle the matter between us. We managed to arrive at an agreement and the attorney got angry. He filed a lien so that my husband cannot pay me any support until this bill is paid. There is a lot more going on here. In a nutshell, there has been fraud, misrepresentation and intimidation. He has not represented my interests and he is using privledged information to take my child support away from me (we are not talking about a lot of money- $500/week plus a lump sum of about $10,0000). If he succeeds my husband and I will both be broke. I will lose my house and my kids all because of this attorney who was supposed to protect us. I need help with this asap because he set a hearing for June 12 that he did not tell me about. The only reason I even know about the lien and the hearing is because my husband told me because his attorney was copied but I was not. HELP! Lawyers like this should not be allowed to practice but I do not know what to do.
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Old 07-15-2012, 06:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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attorney misrepresentation

I just wanted to say I am so sorry that you have been treated like this by someone you paid to help you. I wish I could do something to help you. I was also misrepresented/not represented, lied to, & eventually signed papers unfavorable to me financially so I could be the custodial parent (I never disputed joint custody) out of court due to this.
This attorney has no business practicing family law, or any other type of law.
I would look for some kind of organization that seeks to protect people from this kind of fraud. Since you don't want to spend any money. Possibly a advocate organization of some kind exists?
Possibly you could file something regarding fraud against him?
I wish I could help. Best of luck to you. If I can find any info on this I will get back to you.
peace&love J
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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attorney misrepresentation

Look up "Punishing attorney misconduct in family law matters" It mentions the ways a attorney can be discplined, civil court, etc
It might give you some information on how your attorney might be held accountable for his actions, aside from disbarrment, he might be accountable for the monies paid by you, he might have to pay you back, esp in a civil court. Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 10-17-2012, 04:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If these facts are true you have to report them to your State Bar every State Bar has a complaint website and these situations do occur. I see it happen quite often in family court particularly where the law is quite easy, but the attorneys make a mess of it quite often.

There are a lot of great attorneys in there as well, but these type of incidents are not uncommon unfortunately particularly with lower income individuals. I also do not believe anything can supercede child support and certainly not an attorney.

I don't know what state this was in, but in California this is where you go for this type of thing. This is the link for California Filing a Complaint , but every state has their own complaint area and the state bar will go after attorneys for ethical violations, but unless they are reported to the bar nobody knows.

You may also have a case for legal malpractice if you were pressured into this and considering you were coming from a crisis center and eating at food banks you were very vulnerable. If you have proof of this and these pressures you may be able to get some money from him. Here is an article explaining attorney malpractice http://www.legalmatch.com/law-librar...lpractice.html

I hate to hear about other attorneys taking advantage of others particularly in family court so I hope you let the bar investigate this.
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