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  1. #1
    william71 is offline Junior Member
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    Are lawyers suppose to return phone calls

    I'm located in the State of Florida -

    I currently have a lawyer that I've been working with since the latter part of Oct. 2009. For the past couple of weeks now I've been trying to get a hold of him to find out the status of my case and have left messages with at least 2 of his secretaries and he has not called me back once.

    At first I thought, "OK, well he may be busy with other cases" but in all fairness I'm also a client and shouldn't he have called back by now? I mean it's been 2 weeks. I'm not sure how to proceed with this and my case is coming to an end within 2-3 months from now. Any advice would be appreciated.What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
  2. #2
    HappyWanderer is offline Member
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    It is not per se negligence to not return phone calls. Any malpractice carrier will tell you such a thing is a high indicator of a lawsuit against the attorney, but they don't have a duty to reply as the client wants. There is an ethical duty of communication. Has that been denied here? I don't know. From what has been written, maybe.

    At the end of the day, what you're talking about is malpractice. Has the attorney's lack of call risen to the level of malpractice? It certainly depends on the status of the case and the specific message left.
  3. #3
    latigo is offline Senior Member
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    You ask what to do? Well, that is difficult not knowing more about this attorney/client relationship than what you’ve briefly written, e.g., the frequencies and dates of prior conversations and subject matter, fees paid, fees owed, any particular difficulties regarding the upcoming lawsuit and its preparation that are yet to resolved, briefed, explained, etc., etc.

    But it seems a bit early to panic – so my suggestion is:

    In the morning call his offices and ask to speak with him. If he is unavailable, ask when he will be available either for a telephone conference or an office appointment. If possible schedule an office appointment within a week or so. Also, confirm through the secretary or receptionist that he’s received your earlier messages asking that he return your telephone calls.

    Perhaps after making that call you will have a better sense of what is going on. Hopefully, it won’t be one of being stonewalled or avoided because that could be something of concern to you.

    Why don’t you get back to us after talking to his office?

    [In the meantime I’m going to continue to scan your post to see if I can find any hint of you thinking in terms of “attorney malpractice”. But my guess is that HW found something on the subject in his “google law practice” that caught his eye and felt it important to let us know that he is busy on your case.]
  4. #4
    HappyWanderer is offline Member
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    Apparently my dear, dear friend latigo no longer reads the newsletters sent him every year by his malpractice insurance carrier. If he did, he would be able to scan the OP's post with greater insight.
  5. #5
    william1971 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by latigo View Post
    You ask what to do? Well, that is difficult not knowing more about this attorney/client relationship than what you’ve briefly written, e.g., the frequencies and dates of prior conversations and subject matter, fees paid, fees owed, any particular difficulties regarding the upcoming lawsuit and its preparation that are yet to resolved, briefed, explained, etc., etc.

    But it seems a bit early to panic – so my suggestion is:

    In the morning call his offices and ask to speak with him. If he is unavailable, ask when he will be available either for a telephone conference or an office appointment. If possible schedule an office appointment within a week or so. Also, confirm through the secretary or receptionist that he’s received your earlier messages asking that he return your telephone calls.

    Perhaps after making that call you will have a better sense of what is going on. Hopefully, it won’t be one of being stonewalled or avoided because that could be something of concern to you.

    Why don’t you get back to us after talking to his office?

    [In the meantime I’m going to continue to scan your post to see if I can find any hint of you thinking in terms of “attorney malpractice”. But my guess is that HW found something on the subject in his “google law practice” that caught his eye and felt it important to let us know that he is busy on your case.]
    Thanks Latigo, I'll take your advice. In fact, I called his office this afternoon and got his secretary again and left another message. I have done my end of the bargain and have paid him in full. I don't want to jump to conclusions yet and start yelling "Malpractice" but his reluctance to return my calls has me a bit worried. I'm going to wait to hear from him by end of day; if not then I will schedule a personal visit. I'll keep you posted on what happens.
  6. #6
    HappyWanderer is offline Member
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    Just to be clear, it is not malpractice to not return phone calls. It's just that, according to the insurance companies, attorneys who don't seem to get sued more often.
  7. #7
    william1971 is offline Junior Member
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    Returning phone calls

    NO, I wouldn't imagine not returning phone calls are considered malpractice, but collecting money for services never rendered just might be....
  8. #8
    william1971 is offline Junior Member
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    OK, so I made yet another phone call today to my lawyer and once again got his secretary. When she came on the line I told her that I wanted to set up an appointment to come in and speak with my lawyer. She replied and said that she had remembered my name and couldn't believe he hadn't called me back. She also mentioned that he's been in trials all week. She gave me this story on how he's been meaning to call me but just hasn't had the time.

    Then she said, "I will definitely tell him to call you". So, being a pushover I said "Yeah OK - I'll wait for his call then". No call ever came to me today and it's 8:36PM est. I will call tomorrow yet AGAIN and this time will just make an appointment no questions asked**************
  9. #9
    Isis1 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by william1971 View Post
    OK, so I made yet another phone call today to my lawyer and once again got his secretary. When she came on the line I told her that I wanted to set up an appointment to come in and speak with my lawyer. She replied and said that she had remembered my name and couldn't believe he hadn't called me back. She also mentioned that he's been in trials all week. She gave me this story on how he's been meaning to call me but just hasn't had the time.

    Then she said, "I will definitely tell him to call you". So, being a pushover I said "Yeah OK - I'll wait for his call then". No call ever came to me today and it's 8:36PM est. I will call tomorrow yet AGAIN and this time will just make an appointment no questions asked**************
    i remember a few faithful clients. back when i used to be employed for an attorney....for clients in your situation...i'd call the client when attorney walked in the door, call his desk, and click the line over as soon as he answered. then i'd run to his desk, open the notes to his case on his computer. he hated it when i did that. but it got the job done.

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