My question involves malpractice by a lawyer in the state of: Pennsylvania
I retained an attorney for two of my sons, in December 2007 (a custody issue), and January 2008 (a DUI).
The attorney failed to show up for the custody hearing (June 2008) before the mediator, so he got a different attorney.
January 2008: the attorney did not accompany my son to the magistrate. We tried to reach her several days in advance to find out where they were supposed to meet, and she never returned our calls. After trying to reach her all day on the morning of the hearing, she finally returned our calls, saying that she could not attent because her sick child was in the ER.
January 2009: we received a letter from her associate with the date and time of the hearing, and instructions to meet him 1/2 hour in advance. I called the office, and a secretary said that it was a mistake that the associate had sent us the letter, and that our attorney would indeed be representing my son.
March 2009: Unable to reach our attorney before the ARD hearing, to have any of our questions answered. On the day of the hearing, the attorney we hired again, did not show up. The excuse this time was that she was sick. Instead, her associate, whom my son had never met showed up ten minutes before the hearing, outside of the office and told my son to meet him in the courtroom. He did not explain what would transpire before the hearing. He did quickly go over the results of the hearing afterward.
When I asked the associate if we would be able to get a partial refund from the attorney we hired, since she neglected to represent my son, he distanced himself from her, and informed us that we would have to discuss that with the attorney we hired, and that she just "rents space" from him.
(Both of their names appear in the name of the law firm).
Are we entitled to a partial refund since the attorney we hired did not represent our sons for the services she agreed to perform when we retained her? We paid this No-show attorney $2800 in advance.
Yes, this is something worth fighting for. Please file a complaint with your state bar association. The whole point of paying an attorney is to have him/her show up to represent you, if he/she did not do so, you don't pay her. It's simple as that.
What are we talking about here - just the drunk driving charge?
The first question is, did you pay for any services that weren't rendered? Is the $2800 a retainer against which the lawyer has charged by the hour, or is this a flat fee negotiated for a specific service or services?
The second question is, what does your written retainer agreement say about who you retained (the individual lawyer or a firm that includes the two lawyers) and what happens when the lawyer cannot make it to court and must send somebody else (that happens sometimes to all lawyers). That is, did you authorize the substitution in your retainer agrement, and possibly also agree to how the substituting lawyer would be paid.