Dear Ellen

Have you had a bad experience with an attorney?  Wondering what you could have done to make things better or avoid the situation altogether?  Share your story here so others can be forewarned.  Suggestions made for how to handle the situation will be posted.  No names, please.

Posted in Advice Dealing With Bad Lawyers

Put a Limit on Costs

Peggy had seen dozens of doctors for her injuries from a car accident.  She was not at fault and hired an attorney to money to cover her medical expenses and loss of wages.  Her attorney was good at covering the bases, maybe a little too good. She received one invoice for $500 that covered sending her records to every doctor. One called to ask why they received the records because they did not need the material.  Furthermore, they had not requested it.  They also told her the courier had left the package in the hall overnight. A public hallway where anyone could have taken her information.

Solution:  Providing records to every healthcare provider is questionable, at best.  Some attorneys may do this, I have never worked for one that did.  However, if it is needed, it would have been less expensive and safer to send them electronically. To guard against runaway legal costs, Linda should have requested they request her approval before they made any charges over a certain amount.  The amount is up to you, but it should not be below $50.

Posted in Advice Dealing With Bad Lawyers

Confidential – NOT!

A Chicago lawyer accused of disclosing confidential information about a client in response to his bad Avvo review has been reprimanded partly for the revelation.  Employment lawyer Betty Tsamis “exceeded what was necessary to respond to [the client’s] accusations,” according to stipulated findings of fact. The Legal Profession Blog links to the joint stipulation and reprimand by the Hearing Board of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.  Read more

Posted in Bad Lawyer Behavior

His Parents Must Be So Proud

Alan Cohen is literally pissing it all away.

The disgraced former attorney from St. Louis was arrested more than 300 miles away on Wednesday, caught urinating in the parking lot of an Indiana mall, police said. In his pockets were sixteen Citibank credit cards with stranger’s names on them. In his car were dozens more, cops said. They eventually recovered about 90 cards from across the country, authorities said.

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Posted in Bad Lawyer Behavior

You Want It When?

Jill and Garye had both been married before.  They property and children from their previous marriages. They needed to have new wills. They assumed it would be a simple matter since they had already disposed of their properties.  But their assumption was wrong. Over a year later and they still had not received their wills. When the lawyer finally finished, she gave them a bill for $2,500. Not wanting to cause a scene, and they were tired of being upset about it, they paid the bill and said nothing.

Solution: This problem should never have happened.  Before hiring the attorney, they should have requested time and cost estimate.  Once the documents were not produced in a timely manner, they could have questioned the attorney.  Additionally, the monthly invoices which they should have received would have been a red flat.  Every client should receive a detailed monthly invoice.

Posted in Advice Dealing With Bad Lawyers

Think Your Lawyer Charges Too Much? How About $3500 An Hour?

Lawyer Disbarred for $3,500-an-Hour Fee and ‘Bizarre Behavior’

A Kansas City lawyer has been disbarred for charging a soldier a fee of $3,500 an hour, shouting profanities at court clerks, brawling with court security officers and suggesting that a judge is pedophile.

The Kansas Supreme Court disbarred lawyer Carlos Romious on Monday, according to the National Law Journal and the Legal Profession Blog.

In the military case, Romious had originally agreed to represent the soldier for a flat $3,500 fee, but later claimed the amount was his hourly charge, the NLJ story says. In a different case of “abusive and bizarre behavior,” the court says, Romious asked a judge whether he was a pedophile and said, “You’re going to sit up there with the audacity and the smugness of your holiness.”

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Posted in Bad Lawyer Behavior

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Papers

3 NRI Sacramento attorneys receive lengthy sentences in asylum fraud scheme investigated by ICE HSI

September 24, 2010

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Three attorneys for a northern California law firm and their contract interpreter were sentenced to lengthy prison terms Friday following their conviction on charges stemming from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that revealed they orchestrated a scheme to file hundreds of false asylum claims.

  • Jagprit Singh Sekhon, 39, of Westminster, Calif., formerly of Sacramento, was sentenced to 108 months in prison.
  • His brother and former partner in the Sekhon & Sekhon law firm, Jagdip Singh Sekhon, 42, of Salida, Calif., was sentenced to 60 months in prison.
  • Their former law firm associate, Manjit Kaur Rai, 33, of Discovery Bay, Calif., was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
  • The sentencing hearing for interpreter Iosif Caza, 43, of Sacramento has not yet concluded.
  • Interpreter Luciana Harmath, 29, of Glendale, Ariz., formerly of Sacramento, was sentenced to four months in prison last month.

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Posted in Bad Lawyer Behavior

Watch Who You Are Texting

Chad Hemmat: $2 million verdict against law firm in “toothless cooties” case

A Denver jury has awarded a verdict of more than $2 million, including $1.5 million in punitive damages, to a former client of Anderson, Hemmat & Levine in what amounts to a legal malpractice case against the prominent personal-injury law firm. Daniell Goff claimed that the firm’s lawyers pressured her to settle her car-accident case for far less than it was worth and that Chad Hemmat, one of the firm’s founding partners, referred to her as a “toothless cootie” in an e-mail to another attorney.

Monday’s verdict came after a week-long trial, during which Goff attorney Patric LeHouillier attempted to portray AHL as a “settlement mill” that proclaims its dedication to “Justice for Victims” in numerous commercials and billboards but devotes little attorney time to meeting the needs of its injured clients. AHL’s attorneys countered that the firm worked hard on behalf of Goff and her husband, who were injured in a 2008 auto accident, and that the couple fully agreed to a negotiated settlement with the other motorist’s insurance company.

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Posted in Bad Lawyer Behavior