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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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  #31  
Old 11-18-2012, 12:44 PM
FaithandMorals FaithandMorals is offline
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Originally Posted by AlienatedDad View Post
My lawyer asked for an extension to file my brief. It was due Friday but she asked to file Monday. My ex has refused. I don't know who to be more upset with at this point. As I told my lawyer, we had plenty of time to prepare and she waited until the last minute. Lawyer said she will try to file on Mondau on consent.. If that fails she will try to bring a motion to file on Tuesday. Arrgghhh!

Also, I went to the Can?? site that somebody mentioned above and put in my lawyer's name. Nothing came back. Does this mean she's never been to trial? She also had never had a case where a custody evaluator was used. Should I be concerned? I really like my lawyer but with the delays and the apparent lack of expertise in important areas, I am really starting to wonder.
Any professional that is worth their salt will be busy. Want a great plumber? Guess what? They are busy. You have to juggle the fact that your lawyer is probably busy because they are good. Few lawyers write the paperwork themselves. They have law clerks or assistants.

As for Canlii, I too thought the same at one time. 97% of cases never make it to trial. And, a good family law lawyer is NOT the pitbull you see on TV dramas. A good family law lawyer is firm but fair and is always negotiating to achieve your desired result WITHOUT going to trial. Trials should be looked at like a nasty medical procedure; expensive, risky and not something to wish on your worst enemy. I have come to know a couple great family law lawyers that have been practicing for decades that have few or no listings on Canlii. Not all trials get listed.
  #32  
Old 11-18-2012, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by FaithandMorals View Post
Any professional that is worth their salt will be busy. Want a great plumber? Guess what? They are busy. You have to juggle the fact that your lawyer is probably busy because they are good. Few lawyers write the paperwork themselves. They have law clerks or assistants.

As for Canlii, I too thought the same at one time. 97% of cases never make it to trial. And, a good family law lawyer is NOT the pitbull you see on TV dramas. A good family law lawyer is firm but fair and is always negotiating to achieve your desired result WITHOUT going to trial. Trials should be looked at like a nasty medical procedure; expensive, risky and not something to wish on your worst enemy. I have come to know a couple great family law lawyers that have been practicing for decades that have few or no listings on Canlii. Not all trials get listed.
I agree with you about the busy part, but when this starts to have an impact on quality, this is a problem. As this appears to be what is happening in my case, as she has missed a filing deadline and asked for an extension (which she says is common and I have no reason not to believe her). I just don't expect to pay any extra expenses as a result of her tardiness.

My lawyer said we are likely going to trial (not because of us, but because of the other side) yet she appears to never have been. This does concern me.

Again, I really like her, but I think she may have too much on her plate and not be giving my case the proper thought and attention that is necessary. I have done my best to be a low-maintainence client, but perhaps I should start demanding more attention . . . the squeeky wheel gets the grease.
  #33  
Old 11-18-2012, 01:15 PM
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Yes sending faxes can help (instead of emails). Lots and lots of faxes requesting call backs or just your thoughts on your case. Become friends with the receptionist and say you are going to be calling every day at 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM.

Once this lawyer does give you the time of day make an appointment and go see her. Tell her in a frank and honest manner, that you are losing confidence in her ability to represent you and ask if someone else in the firm could take over your file. I would also tell her that you are not paying for the appointment as it was a performance evaluation of the legal services you are receiving, a review and reassessment.

I wouldn't be impressed if my lawyer missed a filing deadline.

Young lawyers today actually do most of their own paperwork to reduce overhead (because lawyers have to pay for their own assistants). No excuse. Lawyers have templates and know how to cut and paste.

Yes I'd be the squeaky wheel and start lawyer shopping.
  #34  
Old 11-18-2012, 01:33 PM
AlienatedDad AlienatedDad is offline
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Thanks for the advice arabian. I really don't want to get into the habit of calling her everyday . . . it's my dime after all. I am just frustrated that we had months to prepare for the settlement conference and my lawyer waits until the last week to do this, and then misses the filing deadline. To her credit, we were served with a huge settlement conference brief and then had only a day to file. Of course, the other side may have done this on purpose, knowing it would be impossible to respond in such a short period of time.
They won't grant a filing extension, rather it seems that they want to adjourn. Still don't know what the implications of this are. My lawyer says if we adjourn we may miss a December deadline at which point the case will be dismissed. Don't know the implications of this either.
Why does this have to be so complicated? I wanted to sit down in mediation with the lawyers and talk about all the issues like adults. Why does the lowest-common denominator get her way in these cases? It's simply to me: put the kids interests first and divide the assets 50-50. It's really that simple.
  #35  
Old 11-18-2012, 07:04 PM
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Now you're in the uncomfortable situation of feeling inferior and being intimidated by your lawyer. Believe me, I've had that experience with the previous two that I let go. I learned to be a lot more assertive and it helps tremendously.

Sounds like you don't want to get a new lawyer. Actually it might be a better idea of you could summon the courage and become a lot more assertive with your present one. Remember, you are the boss. The lawyer is your employee.

Be very direct with your lawyer about what you want her to do and how to go about doing it.
  #36  
Old 11-18-2012, 07:44 PM
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Now you're in the uncomfortable situation of feeling inferior and being intimidated by your lawyer. Believe me, I've had that experience with the previous two that I let go. I learned to be a lot more assertive and it helps tremendously.

Sounds like you don't want to get a new lawyer. Actually it might be a better idea of you could summon the courage and become a lot more assertive with your present one. Remember, you are the boss. The lawyer is your employee.

Be very direct with your lawyer about what you want her to do and how to go about doing it.
I am talking to her tonight and plan on bring up a lot of these issues. I don't think I am intimidated by her, but when she comes up with all sorts of reasons (excuses?) why she hasn't done something I am concerned. The filing deadline was Friday. I sent her my comments on the brief on Thursday. She didn't get back to me until Saturday, saying that she requested an extension. They didn't grant it, so we're working on the brief today. She said she didn't bring my file home with her, nor did she see the comments I made Thursday since she had to leave the office at noon on Friday. Today, she can't call me until later because of her daughters' soccer game. She said she has gone into settlement conferences with a lot less info and that we can always have another one.

Really? I know she has a life, but when I send her stuff on Thursday and expect her to be working on the case before the deadline on Friday? Then she doesn't read it, nor bring it home with her to work on over the weekend. She claims the office server was done and so she couldn't access it from home.

I expect better. I really do like her, but think she's overextended. I told her that this is her job, but my life and my children's lives. She didn't really like that comment. Didn't help that I was pissed off when I said it.
  #37  
Old 11-18-2012, 08:01 PM
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Get an appointment with at least 2, preferably 3 lawyers. I made an appointment with 3 lawyers and made sure that I would not be charged for the initial appointments. I then chose one of them. It was a hard decision to make...all three seemed equally assertive and accomplished.

It doesn't mean you have to hire anyone, just make your points clear about your case and what you hope to have accomplished. Don't let them know the name of your present lawyer. If you are really impressed with one of the lawyers, you can start making the decision to fire your present one.

It really sounds like you would do better with another lawyer to handle your case.

Btw, I got some names from a friends' lawyer, and also by phoning around..you would be surprised how helpful the receptionists and clerks can be...
  #38  
Old 11-18-2012, 08:13 PM
AlienatedDad AlienatedDad is offline
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Thanks for your reply caranna. I am just worried about cost. I am tired of being bleed to death by the whole "misery industry." How much will it take to bring a new lawyer up to speed? My case is two years old and there are a ton of documents? How much will my current lawyer charge to give me these documents? She hasn't always sent me the most recent versions of letters, etc.

If you know any good lawyers who can handle high conflict situations, have experience with custody evaluations, and have been to trial, please PM me.

Many thanks again.
  #39  
Old 11-18-2012, 08:50 PM
caranna caranna is offline
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Originally Posted by AlienatedDad View Post
Thanks for your reply caranna. I am just worried about cost. I am tired of being bleed to death by the whole "misery industry." How much will it take to bring a new lawyer up to speed? My case is two years old and there are a ton of documents? How much will my current lawyer charge to give me these documents? She hasn't always sent me the most recent versions of letters, etc.

If you know any good lawyers who can handle high conflict situations, have experience with custody evaluations, and have been to trial, please PM me.

Many thanks again.
I don't know where you live, but if it's in the GTA, I wouldn't be of any help in that regard. As I mentioned, a friend gave me the name of her lawyer whom I contacted. I was amazed at how helpful she was...at first she mentioned a couple of names from her firm, but when I made her aware that I was looking for an ASSERTIVE lawyer, she quickly gave me a few names of lawyers from other partnerships!

I also brought out the old-fashioned phone book and asked around for names of assertive lawyers. Many clerks and receptionist were only too happy to help me. Once you start interviewing other lawyers, they will hopefully address your financial concerns. I think it was previously mentioned (in another members' thread a few months ago) that it shouldn't cost you to get your file from your present lawyer.

Last edited by caranna; 11-18-2012 at 09:00 PM.
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