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Lawyer Will Not Take Calls


rthomass

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Guys, I have a very unique situation. I have a team of Lawyers out of Washington, DC that refuse to take my calls or return same. Our contract in part states that ;"Attorneys shall take reasonable steps to keep client informed of progress and to respond to Client's inquiries". While I realize I could terminate our contract for breach, I am reluctannt at this stage since the appeal/claim is at the VARO for readjudication after having been to the BVA, AMC, and United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Appeals.

HOW DO I GET THEIR ATTENTION?

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Start a paper trail, by sending E-mails or certified letters......they do not want a malpractice claim or a sanction by the court.

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I'm afraid they're ALL like that. Same thing happened to me with 3 different law firms. All they care about is making money for themselves -- and not working too hard to do it -- so you (and the rest of us) are just pawns towards that end.

In short, they couldn't care less about keeping us informed, as they tick away your statute-of-limitations time doing nothing, and then make it seem like it's YOUR fault -- like you're bothering them big-time and being highly unreasonable -- for trying to find anything out. I just got rid of the lazy/rude/inconsiderate bums and continued on by myself. No more lawyers for me for ANYTHING ever again.

Good luck with YOUR sleaze lawyers,

-- John D.

Guys, I have a very unique situation. I have a team of Lawyers out of Washington, DC that refuse to take my calls or return same. Our contract in part states that ;"Attorneys shall take reasonable steps to keep client informed of progress and to respond to Client's inquiries". While I realize I could terminate our contract for breach, I am reluctannt at this stage since the appeal/claim is at the VARO for readjudication after having been to the BVA, AMC, and United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Appeals.

HOW DO I GET THEIR ATTENTION?

Edited by cloudcroft
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  • HadIt.com Elder
Guys, I have a very unique situation. I have a team of Lawyers out of Washington, DC that refuse to take my calls or return same. Our contract in part states that ;"Attorneys shall take reasonable steps to keep client informed of progress and to respond to Client's inquiries". While I realize I could terminate our contract for breach, I am reluctannt at this stage since the appeal/claim is at the VARO for readjudication after having been to the BVA, AMC, and United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Appeals.

HOW DO I GET THEIR ATTENTION?

Just send them a little certified letter reminding them of the existence of their ETHICS committee. That should do it.

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And you might want to read over carefully and attach:

[Code of Federal Regulations]

[Title 38, Volume 1]

[Revised as of July 1, 2002]

From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access

[CITE: 38CFR14.633]

[Page 539-541]

TITLE 38--PENSIONS, BONUSES, AND VETERANS' RELIEF

CHAPTER I--DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

PART 14--LEGAL SERVICES, GENERAL COUNSEL, AND MISCELLANEOUS CLAIMS--Table

of Contents

Sec. 14.633 Termination of accreditation of agents, attorneys, and representatives.

(a) Accreditation may be canceled at the request of an agent,

attorney, representative, or organization.

(;) Accreditation shall be canceled at such time a determination is

made that any requirement of Sec. 14.629 is no longer met by an agent,

attorney, or representative.

© Accreditation shall be canceled when the General Counsel finds,

by clear and convincing evidence, one of the following:

[[Page 540]]

(1) Violation of or refusal to comply with the laws administered by

the Department of Veterans Affairs or with the regulations governing

practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs;

(2) Knowingly presenting or prosecuting a fraudulent claim against

the United States, or knowingly providing false information to the

United States;

(3) Demanding or accepting unlawful compensation for preparing,

presenting, prosecuting, or advising or consulting, concerning a claim;

(4) Any other unlawful, unprofessional, or unethical practice.

(Unlawful, unprofessional, or unethical practice shall include but not

be limited to the following--deceiving, misleading or threatening a

claimant or prospective claimant; neglecting to prosecute a claim for 6

months or more; failing to furnish a reasonable response within 90 days

of request for evidence by the Department of Veterans Affairs, or

willfully withholding an application for benefits.)

(d) Accreditation shall be canceled when the General Counsel finds

an agent's, attorney's, or representative's performance before the

Department of Veterans Affairs demonstrates a lack of the degree of

competence necessary to adequately prepare, present, and prosecute

claims for veteran's benefits.

(e) As to cancellation of accreditation under paragraphs (B), © or

(d) of this section, upon receipt of information from any source

indicating failure to meet the requirements of Sec. 14.629, improper

conduct, or incompetence, the Regional Counsel of jurisdiction shall

initiate an inquiry into the matter. If the matter involves an

accredited representative of a recognized organization, this inquiry

shall include contact with the representative's organization.

(1) If the result of the inquiry does not justify further action,

the Regional Counsel will close the inquiry and maintain the record for

3 years.

(2) If the result of the inquiry justifies further action, the

Regional Counsel shall take the following action:

(i) As to representatives, suspend accreditation immediately and

notify the representative and the representative's organization of the

suspension and of an intent to cancel accreditation. The notice to the

representative will also state the reasons for the suspension and

impending cancellation, and inform the representative of a right to

request a hearing on the matter or to submit additional evidence within

10 working days following receipt of such notice. Such time may be

extended for a reasonable period upon a showing of sufficient cause.

(ii) As to agents or attorneys, inform the General Counsel of the

result of the inquiry and notify the agent or attorney of an intent to

cancel accreditation. The notice will also state the reason(s) for the

impending cancellation and inform the party of a right to request a

hearing on the matter or to submit additional evidence within 10 working

days of receipt of such notice. Such time may be extended for a

reasonable period upon a showing of sufficient cause.

(iii) In the event that a hearing is not requested, the Regional

Counsel shall forward the record to the General Counsel for final

determination.

(f) If a hearing is requested, a hearing officer will be appointed

by the Director of the regional office involved. The hearing officer

shall not be from the Office of the Regional Counsel. The hearing

officer will have authority to administer oaths. A member of the

Regional Counsel's office will present the evidence. The party

requesting the hearing will have a right to counsel, to present

evidence, and to cross-examine witnesses. Upon request of the party

requesting the hearing, an appropriate Department of Veterans Affairs

official designated in Sec. 2.1 of this chapter may issue subpoenas to

compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents

necessary for a fair hearing. The hearing shall be conducted in an

informal manner and court rules of evidence shall not apply. Testimony

shall be recorded verbatim. The hearing officer shall submit the entire

hearing transcript, any pertinent records or information, and a

recommended finding to the Regional Counsel within 10 working days after

the close of the hearing. The Regional Counsel will immediately forward

the entire record to the General Counsel for decision.

[[Page 541]]

(g) The decision of the General Counsel is final. The effective date

for termination of accreditation shall be the date upon which a final

decision is rendered. The records of the case will be maintained in the

General Counsel's office for 3 years.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 5902, 5904)

[53 FR 52422, Dec. 28, 1988]

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I like the email idea. There are programs you can get that shows if someone has opened your email (and all sorts of other things) My husband used readnotify for that.

I have been using emails with my attorney lately to handle all the probate stuff.

The thing I like about emails is they tell you more than their formal letters - but you also have a record of what was said (unlike a phone conversation).

Free

Start a paper trail, by sending E-mails or certified letters......they do not want a malpractice claim or a sanction by the court.
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Berta's information is extremely pertinent. In most states, the BAR says that to not respond to requests from clients is considered unethical behavior. I would also do with JRs emails or certified letters. You might also see if you can find online reference to DC ethical behavior and reference that as well.

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We've been through the exact same experience. All the advice is good advice, except, when we were in that position, we didn't want to bother with all that. We just wanted to get out from under the agreement we had with her and replace her. We severed the agreement with her, based on not complying with the terms of the agreement (as in answering any of our inquiries) and found another attorney, who we're very happy with.

I'm not sure changing at this stage of the game would really harm your remanded appeal if you can find an attorney who knows his or her stuff. You don't know how much time you're going to have to wait, anyway, do you? It may be more than enough time for a new attorney to get up to snuff on your case.

Just my opinion. We don't believe in depending on someone in whom we've lost confidence.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

If you have lost confidence in your lawyer get out from under and get someone you trust. Having an incompetent or negligent lawyer can cause you no end of grief. Just consider if they neglect time lines and deadlines. Your case goes out the window.

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