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User Topic: Questionable Attorney Behavior (what the…?)
Want2help
♀ Member
Member # 20547
Flame  Posted: 4:29 PM, February 11th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

FWH and I have retained an attorney for the adoption of OC (basically essential in our state, which makes it impossible to do yourself).

The attorney re retained took a lump sum in the beginning, and claims to be one of the most "knowledgeable stepparent adoption attorneys in the state). She works by herself, and is not affiliated with a firm.

This attorney screws up CONSTANTLY.

We paid her in installments, in post-dated checks, as we had arranged. She cashed them all.

OW screwed up her paperwork, and it had to be sent back to her. The attorney sent it to US on accident (yeah mail with OW's name showed up at MY address). We tried to send it back to the attorney, but she didn't want the work of sending it out again, so asked us to send it directly to OW.

She originally estimated that the adoption would take 4 months. Now she is estimating it will be done this summer, 10 months from when it began. She has been unreachable multiple times on vacations/family emergencies/preparing for family events/etc. We have had to call her for updates, she NEVER calls us.


Our most recent debacle: She called because she has a check (for a substantial sum of money from us) that she doesn't think she cashed. So she wants FWH to write her a new one "before she can continue with the adoption process" (in other words, she isn't doing shit tip she gets the money).

We know for a fact that she caused the check. FWH called and confirmed it with his bank anyway, and yes, she cashed it long ago. He called her and told her the details, even what bank she deposited it through. She says, "Yes, I had an account with that bank, but I have since closed it, and I can't look at my statements to prove that you have cashed this check."

So now FWH is taking tomorrow off to go to the bank and get copies of all of the checks he has paid to her, so he can prove that she cashed all of them, so she will do her fucking job.

I cannot even fathom the level of unprofessionalism here. Spending a day sorting out the mess of a woman who is charging us hundreds of dollars an hour. To top it off, I feel black mailed. She isn't going to go through with the adoption unless she gets money? AFTER she's already been paid? Sound fishy to anyone else?

This is completely out there, right? Should I file a complaint about this? (Post adoption, of course). And if so, with who?

(Thank you in advance).


BS- me.
FWS- him.
DDay 6/07 (immediately separated)
RDay 8/07
Surprise OC born 3/08 (NC)
7 years into successful R.
"That which can be destroyed by truth should be." -P. C. Hodgell

Posts: 2228 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
hurtbs
♀ Member
Member # 10866
Default  Posted: 4:40 PM, February 11th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

You can file a complaint with the BAR association. I would seriously consider asking her to refund the remainder of your retainer (she must provide records of the work she has done on the case for the hourly fees) and transfer it to another family attorney.

I would file a BAR complaint for malfeasance.


Me BW Him XSAWH
DDays 2006, and then numerous more
Divorced 2012

"In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate." - Asimov
"Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you." - Ovid


Posts: 15318 | Registered: Jun 2006
Rebreather
♀ Member
Member # 30817
Default  Posted: 4:46 PM, February 11th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Most of what you mentioned wouldn't be handled by the attorney, but by a legal assistant. Sounds like a major breakdown has occurred in that office.

I would first write her a very detailed letter about how unhappy you are with her representation to date, and what her immediate plans are to remedy the situation. You can mention there that you have contemplated filing a bar complaint but would like to give her the opportunity to cure the problem first.

It sounds like most of your communication have been with the lawyer - but if any of this is coming through an assistant, then I would consider the possibility the assistant is very much part of the problem (ie, a lawyer friend's long time office manager just embezzled 30k from his firm, you just never know).


Me BS
Him WH
2 ddays in '07
Recovering.
"The cure for the pain, is the pain." -Rumi

Posts: 6356 | Registered: Jan 2011
waiting2see
♀ Member
Member # 13767
Default  Posted: 8:19 PM, February 11th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I am a lawyer and although I do not do any family or domestic work, It sounds like she is in-over--her head. Maybe she has a bad staff or maybe she is trying to practice on her own with no over-head and can't handle it all on her own.

Regardless, in my state, the Bar and the Supreme Court hate nothing more than a lawyer taking client funds and not performing.

I would request a meeting. Explain your concerns. Clear up the check issue. Also, get a consult with another lawyer who does the same work in the same area and get a second opinion. Then decide if it makes sense to start over with a new lawyer--financially, time-wise, etc.

If you decided to change lawyers and she won't make the money situation right, report her.


me: BS
him: XWS

Much of your pain is self-chosen. ~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923

"It's not livin' that you're doin' if it feels like dyin." Ray Lamontagne


Posts: 1931 | Registered: Feb 2007
Jeaniegirl
♀ Member
Member # 6370
Default  Posted: 9:45 PM, February 11th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Another attorney here.

I would file a bar complaint and even ask for money back. If she can't keep her checking account straight, I'd question her ability to handle the adoption.


"Because I deserve better"

Posts: 974 | Registered: Feb 2005
Want2help
♀ Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 11:08 PM, February 11th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Honestly, I don't know if she even has a legal assistant. She always answers he own calls, and she's never mentioned one. I haven't been in to her office (the adoption is occurring in another city), so I don't know for sure.

I would seriously consider asking her to refund the remainder of your retainer (she must provide records of the work she has done on the case for the hourly fees) and transfer it to another family attorney.

She just took a lump sum based on the amount of time her previous uncontested stepparent adoptions took, so I'm not entirely sure we'd get anything back.

The paperwork has (allegedly) already been filed with courts, the adoption petition and everything. We're (allegedly) just waiting for the court to get to our case.

It sounds like she is in-over--her head

I think this is a huge part of her problem. And she is seeming very scatter brained.

I would request a meeting. Explain your concerns. Clear up the check issue. Also, get a consult with another lawyer who does the same work in the same area and get a second opinion. Then decide if it makes sense to start over with a new lawyer--financially, time-wise, etc.

This sounds like excellent advice.

Thank you, everyone. My FWH goes to the bank tomorrow to get copies of the checks (or bank records or whatever, I'm not even sure how it works), and if she is STILL demanding more money, I guess I should contact the bar association immediately to report her?


BS- me.
FWS- him.
DDay 6/07 (immediately separated)
RDay 8/07
Surprise OC born 3/08 (NC)
7 years into successful R.
"That which can be destroyed by truth should be." -P. C. Hodgell

Posts: 2228 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
gonnabe2016
♀ Member
Member # 34823
Default  Posted: 11:21 PM, February 11th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Do you not have online access to your bank account? If you do, it would be a lot less headache for you to print copies of those cashed checks from home than have to truck down to the bank for it.

Also, most jurisdictions have online access to basic court information. Just Google the county,state court system where the action was filed. You should, at least, be able to see any filings that have been made or hearings that have occurred.

eta: AND do NOT give her any more of your money until this current shitstorm gets straightened out.

[This message edited by gonnabe2016 at 11:22 PM, February 11th (Tuesday)]


"Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." - Sir Walter Scott

In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.


Posts: 7906 | Registered: Feb 2012 | From: Midwest
Want2help
♀ Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 11:38 PM, February 11th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Do you not have online access to your bank account? If you do, it would be a lot less headache for you to print copies of those cashed checks from home than have to truck down to the bank for it.

FWH says that he can only see his statements online, and the attorney wants to see copies of the check. How she can be making demands when this is her mistake, I have no idea. As you can imagine, I'm pretty miffed.

Also, most jurisdictions have online access to basic court information. Just Google the county,state court system where the action was filed. You should, at least, be able to see any filings that have been made or hearings that have occurred.

I've found the country website, but cannot find any way to look anything up. We do seem to have a lot of stuff kept private in my state (mugshots, court records, etc.).

eta: AND do NOT give her any more of your money until this current shitstorm gets straightened out.

No way, she's been paid in full, in $500 installments. If she demands anymore money, things are not going to turn out well.

This is so stressful. We're so close to being done with this chapter of our lives. It was supposed to be final by the end of the year, now she's saying this summer.


BS- me.
FWS- him.
DDay 6/07 (immediately separated)
RDay 8/07
Surprise OC born 3/08 (NC)
7 years into successful R.
"That which can be destroyed by truth should be." -P. C. Hodgell

Posts: 2228 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
happenedtome
♀ Member
Member # 6042
Default  Posted: 11:52 AM, February 12th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Have you checked with your state bar association to see whether this attorney has had any complaints lodged against her? I agree with Wating2see that this lawyer appears to be in over her head. I also think you need to file your own complaint against her to protect others against her questionable practices. Her conduct is both unethical and unprofessional. I am sorry you are having to deal with this aggravation.

Posts: 224 | Registered: Dec 2004
Want2help
♀ Member
Member # 20547
Default  Posted: 8:55 PM, February 12th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Have you checked with your state bar association to see whether this attorney has had any complaints lodged against her?

I have not. I suppose it would have been a good idea if I had thought of that prior to giving her our money.

We took the check copy to her office, and she wasn't in. No one was, so no, I don't think she has a legal assistant. It was just one room, with her desk.

FWH called her and she said that she was "not pursuing it" as far as the money. He told her he would scan and email the check copy to her, as well as mail her the check.

I saw the bank statement when she caused the check, and now I have seen a copy of the cashed check, with her stamp on the back. I really don't understand why she thinks that she didn't cash it.

I just hope this doesn't hold up OC's adoption in any way.


BS- me.
FWS- him.
DDay 6/07 (immediately separated)
RDay 8/07
Surprise OC born 3/08 (NC)
7 years into successful R.
"That which can be destroyed by truth should be." -P. C. Hodgell

Posts: 2228 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: PNW
Cally60
♀ Member
Member # 23437
Default  Posted: 4:15 AM, February 15th (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm afraid that it sounds to me as though she has money problems. Hence the urgency and the implied threat that she will do no more. And making your husband jump through hoops to prove she cashed the check. Some people might have been less careful or concerned and might simply have written another check.

Asking you to send the misdirected documents directly to OW may even have been an attempt to save a little money - I'm guessing that you paid the postage for that.

I think it would be wise to verify independently that the legal paperwork has indeed been filed and the date of filing. Is it possible that the reason for the long delay could be financial? ie If one has to pay to file them, and she is running very close to the wind financially, it seems to me be possible that she delayed filing because she didn't have the money to do so.


Posts: 2109 | Registered: Mar 2009
Topic Posts: 11

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