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asked lawyer to perform name change from divorce in 1995, she chose to amend the divorce decree instead of filing with local south dakota courts...after two months with no response from my lawyer, contacted office to find out the status but they had never checked on it after they sent letter to judge who signed divorce decree-lawyer responded by saying she'd get right on it (conveniently charging me another consult fee)...2nd letter sent with no follow up, when i called to find out the problem they sent yet a 3rd letter (this time to the correct city since the judge had moved to another city in arkansas-they had previously just sent it to the county court office he used to reside in without confirming his address) judge wrote back that statue of limitations has expired to amend decree so my lawyer send me a letter basically saying too bad but offering to do name change the other way for $500 with no mention of the money previously paid for service they didnt provide since she didnt research local law where deivorce had taken place. do i have any recourse as far as funds previously paid including multiple letters billed for when they were sending info to wrong address??



Name change

It is possible that the lawyer was guilty of mal practice from the facts you give. That would be the case if she did not perform the services up to the standard of other lawyers in her situation. If that is the case, she is liable to you for any cost to you resulting from the mal practice, or she would have to complete the job she promissed without charging you more than was originally agreed upon.

Since it would be economically unfeasable to retain counsel to sue for mal practice when the amount in question is only $500, what I suggest you do is complain to the state bar. They may help you in this. If they do not, then you could change your name by filing the forms with the county clerk and complying with the county publication requirements. It is a simple procedure and the clerk of most counties can give you the simple forms required and instructions on how to proceed.

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