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-   -   should I switch lawyers? (https://www.ottawadivorce.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7830)

rustedinnocence 10-13-2010 05:31 PM

should I switch lawyers?
 
How many people have switched lawyers? Did you lose a lot of money.
Mine seems to be working too slow. I can't get answers to my emails and its been three months and the initial letter to my ex has not even been sent yet let alone the application filed.
My form 13.1 will be no good now because of the time lag and I took extreme care and time in filling that thing out. (took all the bills divided by 12 to get accurate amounts, etc.)
My lawyer knew my ex was planning on moving back in this week and still not reply, no response.... I ' AM SOOOOOOOOOO FRUSTRATED... I'm having to make legal decisions without the help of my lawyer and I have already given them a 2500.00 retainer (to start)... seeing as i've been in the office twice, both times for near two hours, and sent a few emails, I'm sure most of that amount they have already chewed through....
Do you think it's a good idea to switch lawyers or is this typical for all lawyers?

rwm1273 10-13-2010 08:48 PM

Sounds like your lawyer is not doing anything.

Changing lawyers is very expensive, and not always a good thing. Many lawyers do not respond in a very timely fashion, and this is something you may need to get use to, as your next lawyer may be just as slow to respond. Also each subsequent lawyer will need to do some catchup on your file, and this costs money. Each subsequent retainer will (may)cost more than the last.

Also if you change your lawyer too often, the courts look poorly upon you.

tenyearbattle 10-13-2010 09:38 PM

lawyers...ha
 
I left husband feb 2001 lawyer #1,,,he went on holidays the same day ex cleaned me out of house, home and $,,,lawyer 2,,lawyer 2 worked for me til he was bored,,and I moved up to the senior partner,,,lawyer #3...he left when all my money was gone,,,now I do it myself,,,its been 10 long years,,,$100,000 and I might as well have stayed with the ex,,,,loll...no IM kidding ,,life is tough, I still have $70,000 on credit for paying lawyers,,,and Im not closer to the end,,,,my advice,,,do the free half hour consults,,,get advice,,,do it yourself...unless u find a nice lawyer,,,willing to end things asap....like I said this has been 10 years ,,,next year 11 and still no sign of ending

verytiredmother 10-13-2010 10:10 PM

I had the same lawyer for three years. He did the not replying to voice messages and emails, which is extremely frustrating and stressful. I was afraid to change lawyers because of the expense, as I didn't have money for a new retainer. However, he also "misfiled" documents and actually had me taking my ex to a case conference on the belief this would force him to file his financial statement--only to admit later that my ex had filed it. I worked part-time when we separated, most of the family debt was on my name as I was the one who arranged for the kids' ortho, etc. and I worried about paying my oldest's uni fees, etc. My lawyer had me carrying all this, fighting my ex regularly for support payment, etc. and when he did communicate with me it was with misinformation, general theoretical stuff and never addressed any of my specific questions. When my ex's lawyer sent an offer to settle, my lawyer sat on it letting the deadline pass, so it looked like I was not being cooperative. In other words, my legal fees were up to about $12,000--for nothing but headache. I kept all the emails, though. And finally caught him in a lie, trying once again to force me to go to court, making me believe my ex's lawyer was not willing to settle. It took me about two weeks of meeting with my lawyer and going back and forth, but I finally fired him and got a full refund--though I regret I signed that I'd not sue him or file a compliant, which I really should have. I represented myself after that, though I paid for a lawyer to review the final agreement. Divorced within months of firing the lawyer.

It was a hard lesson although a happy ending but I learned it's best to cut your losses and listen to your gut. It can cost a lot more to stay with a bad lawyer. And be assertive. A lawyer is a service provider. You are the customer. Some of them need to be reminded of this.

verytiredmother 10-13-2010 10:15 PM

rustedinnocence, tell me you're not in Oakville! I have always felt guilty that I opted to just get my money and not file a complaint, but I was in a very difficult situation and mentally exhausted. I worry that the lawyer I had will continue pulling his antics on others...

tugofwar 10-13-2010 10:20 PM

Rusted, try sending a firm letter outlining your concerns and the timelines. Try letting them know that you don't feel they are representing you and informing you properly and are extremely frustrated. State that if they are too busy or not interested in your case that you will seek other representation and tell them they have a certain timeframe to respond otherwise you will continue to do what you have to do inorder to get the ball rolling.
Just advice as that is what happened to me. I told lawyer that I felt we had a good client lawyer relationship and that he knew my case extremely well but I was feeling uninformed and that he was too busy.
I got a call a few hours later.....

rustedinnocence 10-13-2010 11:16 PM

thanks for the advice, time and energy everyone shares... I hope I can be as helpful to others!
i did send yet another email this afternoon to my lawyers office (pasted below) and even after they recieved that email, still, no responce.
*********************
Hi, since ________has been back in the office for a week now, and a few weeks ago when I phoned (after not recieving any replies to my emails), _______expressed my file was at the top of the pile, I was wondering if there has been any progress with my case yet?
I am patiently waiting for an update as I am mostly staying at a friends house, living out of bags, and waiting for proper advice on how to move forward. Not sure if I should move everything out, stop paying bills at the house so I can have enough money to get my own place, or if i have to continue to live there, etc... I was hoping all of this could have been avoided and the situation would have been dealt with before it arose.
I sent another email in last Thursday, October 7th asking questions, but have not had a reply.
Please let me know where the progress with my file sits. I understand things tend to move slowly but I've been waiting since July to have any movement whatsoever in regards to having anything sent to my ex or filed, and the circumstances in which I am having to live are becoming more than unbearable.
I was very much looking forward to having your legal firm represent me and help me through this and hope you still can, but I am becoming quite disheartened and frustrated as I am blindly making decisions without any legal advice and feel as if nothing is progressing or moving forward. It's hard to continue to look forward positively when things are not moving forward at all in any way.
******************************
...and I copied and pasted the email from last week to the end of this one.
I just don't get it... where are we suppose to get legal advice if our hired lawyers are not providing any? OYE.... i really feel at a loss here... I thought that hiring a lawyer would help me feel some sort of control and help the spinning in a downwords spiral feeling at least slow down somewhat.

dadtotheend 10-13-2010 11:20 PM

Read Surviving Your Divorce by Michael Cochrane. It should give you some perspective.

Rioe 10-13-2010 11:46 PM

In my somewhat admittedly limited experience, you need to ask your lawyer specific questions instead of open and vague ones. And don't ask too many at once, either. They confuse easily, I think.

Try "What happens if I do X or Y? What are the consequences of each one?" instead of "What should I do?" Tell him you want to move out of the marital home, and ask what steps you should take to do that without unwanted consequences.

The lawyer is not there to hold you by the hand and guide you along, much as that's exactly what people experiencing the upheaval of relationship breakdown would want. They are there to consult on the legal ramifications of your own chosen paths, and smooth the way for you.

verytiredmother 10-14-2010 09:20 AM

Rusted,

You might want to look through the law society's code of conduct for lawyers:

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/media/rpc.pdf

Sticking to specific questions and tasks he is supposed to be doing is key.

Sternly request a full report on what he has done to date, and ask for him to send you copies of all correspondece between him and your spouse's lawyer. As it stands, if he has not provided any services, he really should be refunding you the retainer so you can hire someone who can do the job. Keep all correspondence between you and your lawyer.

Educate yourself as much as possible on your legal rights and family law and think of it in terms of you leading and your lawyer being a service provider, who files documents with court, who has knowledge of the rules. I would imagine if you are unemployed and have no income, immediate interim support payments would be in order. It's a complete failure of duty on your lawyer's part, in my view, that he has not fired off the necessary letter and forms, etc. for this. The negotiations for the divorce, etc. are the next step.

Your situation reminds me very much of mine, and I was an emotional and financial wreck. It's a very vulnerable time but it's important to approach the lawyer very much as if you'd just hired someone to fix your roof, given him a deposit, and then sits on it while the roof leaks and further damage to the house occurs.


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