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Thoughts on maybe dismissing my attorney, feedback appreciated


Hello everyone,

I've been somewhat more vocal these last couple weeks as everything seems to be coming to fruition, or elaborately xxxxxx...Unfortunately, i dont knwo enough about the va to offer any advice so here i am coming to take...hahaa

Seriously though, I knew the fee associated with legal representation. I was also well aware I'd be lucky if the attorney actually worked a quarter of what he was being compensated and was willing to sacrifice the pawn and kill a king back then. However, while for the better part of 5 years he's been able to offload responsibility to the VA for lack of response - the more research of my own i do, the less it appears he's even done than most of the shittier lawyers i've seen complained about. One of the biggest things that kills me is he should always be the more informed party between me and him about this type of stuff...And, i'd say he's uninformed or clueless more than 50% of the time he gives me reason for one thing or another.

I had caught my first felony at the end of 2016 for heroin possesion. I didnt talk to him much up till around spring time this year because it wasn't my top priority and i had to do a few months of county jail...Anyway, i initially  contacted upon release to see how everything was going. And he's more or less despondent. When i ask if my drug addiction/legal trouble could be used to strengthen my cause he told me no...on the contrary, felons aren't normally well received with favorable reviews - and that drug addicts are even less likely to get anything because the board "would hate to give someone so irresponsible a hunk of tax-payer money to buy drugs with." I was obviously crushed, and had yet to come to understand my lawyer often speaks without reason or knowledge. He then reassured me not to worry, he wouldn't drop me as a client since ive been with him for quite some time but that "he doesnt know of an attorney that would represent me" given those factors. Just to highlight the nature of my relationship with him.

I told him tdiu is really just not a goal of mine anymore since i had filled a decade ago and my conditions had only worsened and that P&T was really the only end game for me. When i asked if if the drug addiction could be used to highlight the 8 years out of the corps i was clean and sober until i snapped he said "if we get you in front of a board - you might find a judge that willing to hear it that way." Where does this guy actually come in if he can't even use a little courtroom rhetoric to help advocate my case? I personally filed the NOD by spending 20 hours in the law library chasing each component listed for denial to rebute, although that was prior to having him...and really come to think of it don't know one real contribution he's made to this effort.

Now, i wish i saved the post where one guy was complaining, thinking about changing lawyers for like 6th time and a hadit member and attorney just ripped him in half as a pariah on hard working people...naturally, the last part caught my eye and this guy went on about how lawyers for claims generally go out of their pocket for private doctors, and experts that can support this or that, and that for clients with little hopes of making any substantial money often run at a deficit. He is an attorney, and i've never met an honest or charitable one - so maybe they're more realistically doing whatever best helps facilitate their investment. If my attorney did just that, made sure he saw a return on his "investment" which i guess is very little, i'd be more than happy with that. But, I'm really just struggling a reason to keep him employed with me. I'm not a bad guy, or one who goes back on his word...And even if i find he's been pretty much dead weight i've carried wont cherish giving him his pink slip.

I dont know guys...I'm allegedly in the works(aren't we all") for a six figure award...bringing my side kick there roughly $30,000 give or take some. What would you guys do here? How could i approach exactly what contribution he's made thus far. Or perhaps tell him fee or no fee he's in it for the long haul, and if he cant lawyer up a way to solidify my P&T then *Insert some legal ramification" and if not applicable, and i have no way to entice his hardest effort than i likely have to walk...

Thank you all, and I'm praying the forum member esquire who i mentioned comes across this. I need a counterweight here.

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I agree with Vetquest.  Dont fire your attorney unless you are willing to proceeed pro se.  The attorney works fro you "behind closed doors", because its not practical for him or her to ask you every time he files a paper or makes a phone call.  There is often a lot going on, you dont know about, behind the scenes.  

The mere fact that you "asked", means you probably should not fire your attorney.  You should only fire your attorney if "you know for sure" that he or she has lied to you...and a difference of opinion between a va employee and your attorney is insufficient.  If every attorney were fired each time they disagreed with VA employees, then all attorneys would be fired, because, VA employees dont like attorney represented Vets...the attorney can do a better job at holding the employee accountable, and VA employees dont want to be held accountable, they want to do what ever they so please.  

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On 10/28/2018 at 1:38 PM, Axilleas said:

What would you guys do here?


I will repeat what Vetquest said to you, get your C-file before you do anything about your attorney.

As  Berta asked, did you get an award letter tdiu? if your attorney did get one in your name and did not notify you of it, then you have a malpractice claim against him. That would be completely outside the VA's scope. If he tried to "up the ante" by filing a NOD against that award without your knowledge, you have significant legal damages the Bar will NOT be happy with him about. His insurance will pay you and he might lose his license to practice at the VA bar.

Without an award or denial he could not have filed a disagreement, that means if he did file one he had a letter either way. There will be no confusion about the dates or sequence of events.

I would also suggest in the interim you go to Ebenefits or Vets.gov and see who if anyone they list as your representative. That person/group is only there if you signed a POA. In theory if you filed a new POA with a new person/group that person would file it with the VA and the named representative would change, but it is not always quick.

Your POA should be in your C-file. It would be unusual if it had a time limit for a VA case, but it is not impossible. odd yes, impossible no. your only way to know for sure is in your c-file.

did I say get your C-file enough times?

While you are looking for a new lawyer, before you fire this one, also look for a lawyer that enjoys suing other lawyers for malpractice. It would be even better if they are also allowed to practice at the VA bar.

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Hey everyone - thank you for the feedback. I definitely understand and appreciate your point of view. It’s definitely been taken into consideration. 

Let me address the validity of what I’m saying in the tdiu granted truth. I have 4 different sources (VSO friend who did a favor, lawyer, va rep, and vets .gov) all conforming the simple fact that at the DRO review I had the tdiu was granted where the increase in two other issues was not. On feb 21 2017, the va “granted one or more issues” and sent a SoC. Obviously the soc was what the lawyer was able to appeal to the BVA with. The award or notice should also have been forwarded with the same SOC. I at the time was nursing a heroin addiction and unaccountable with no residence, no mail. I know it’s easy to disbelieve what any one source tells you in adverse circumstances - however, when three or more are lining up at the same heading...I pretty much believe it. I don’t understand why the va didn’t promulgate regardless since the award was prio to any appeal and no longer part of the contention, but obviously things get screwy sometimes. The vA rep said it appeared they didn’t know how to approach it since the primary concern was addressed with the award they kind of just left it. 

I’m not sure what the status on the poa is - she said on the computer it showed up as expired, no longer current ...which makes a lot of sense why he wasn’t able to do all the work I’ve done researching this further. And I’m not sure if I drop this attorney I’ll struggle to find another. I want to drop the appeal as it is, and submit another one with new evidence and a few other issues. If need be I think I should be able to find one seeing as it it’s not the same claim or concourse as what my last legal rep stood in for.

as long as there’s no fee being apportioned his way I’ll let him choke on that discovery when the time comes. Ultimately, he either withheld information(that tdiu was granted) or he didn’t know and didn’t realize on the SOC tdiu was not denied, so he doesn’t appear very capable in any regard. 

More inportantly, the rep who helped me tried to put in the system I’d like it resolved...she did very suspiciously say I might need to withdraw the appeal, which pending a document with tdiu granted in my hands I would easily do, but she also made notes to send to whoever and gave me an iris ref number to call back and check on. I also submitted my own asking for the award to be filed. Do you think when she said I’d have to drop the appeal it’s because inadvertently the lawyer included it on his appeal form? My god what an idiot....

thank you all and if you have any tips on how to tackle this to resolution as quickly as possible I’m all ears..

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The last thing you need is bad blood or bad communication between you and your attorney.  Clear up both of those, and many, if not all your problems will be solved.  

You may need to swallow a little pride and admit he knows more than you do about VA law (highly likely).  

As far as the expired POA, discuss that with him also...when you call to inquire the status.  Again, I have not seen a pOA expire, this would almost never be in the vets best interest. 

As always you can cactch more flies with honey than vinegar, so call him up, after you have prepared some questions, where one of the early ones would be if he got paid, and explain you did not *yet" get paid.  

Be non threating, friendly, helpful.  You will have plenty of time to get mean later if the situation warrants it.  

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right on bronco....i'm definitely approaching cautiously. First i dont want him knowing i'm aware the va wont be peeling his 20% off, or reveal anything i do know. I wont ask him about the soc he received nor why it so coincidentally arrived around his filling the bva. I'll probably not talk to him at all and will probably end up withdrawing the appeal once the letter is confirmed and in my possession. Hopefully he catches on, that there was no appeal won. No attorney fee eligible, and if he sends me a bill for more than 1200$ I'll bring out the big guns and threaten to take it the State Bar that he so poorly represented me - he actually compromised his clients well being by stalling the very thing i was after!

You're right, he's an attorney who's probably handled a few cases before..He went through law school. I'm an engineer. Our areas of knowledge couldn't be more distinct. However, I dont need 4 years of harvard law to see such a clear and obvious progression. "client files dro review as last effort to resolve locally, without appealing. Client hires me to represent as dro favorable decision unlikely. Dro sends back denial, of other issues. Primary issue sought not mentioned. BVA appeal sent to VA a month thereafter (possibly listing all issues sough or the ones i knew of.)*2 years elapse* Client asks for update, VA remote login reveals "grant." Inform client the BVA likely sent the claim back to RO for adjustment. Appeal therefore overturned and fee anticipated."

xxxx NO BUDDY, you got a surprise coming too. hahaha....

thats the monologue he more or less had based on how he explained everything and the way he explained how it was granted after all. Like i said he's either an idiot or a straight up snake. thanks everyone! will let you all know how it unravels...

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