Legal Question in Civil Rights Law in Kentucky

I have been doing a lot of reading regarding underhanded lawyers who cheat clients out of their money. I am a victim of this currently myself. I live in Louisville, KY and I have retained two seperate attorneys regarding a discrimination case that I have filed here in 2007 and they have both taken the retainer and done nothing on my case. I have filed a complaint with the KY Bar Association, but that did not good at all. They talk about their standard and ethics but when you try to get justice against one of "their own," you're just preaching to the choir! It has been 4 years two attorneys several thousand dollars later and my case is still pending in civil court. I don't suppose you have any quick fixes for that one ?

Asked on 4/05/11, 2:01 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Andrea Welker Welker Law Office

Well, I can't speak for your case, but people don't seem to realize exactly how long litigation takes, how lengthy the discovery process is, and how there are long periods of dormancy in cases, while waiting for documents, etc., from the other side or from your side. I have worked at law firms where cases that were open when I started working there were still pending when I left. That your case would be going on for years is not surprising. If your case has merit, it will definitely take longer.

Now, there is a difference between money you gave your lawyer and money that is spent. When a client gives me a retainer, that's the client's money until I actually earn it. It goes into my escrow account and stays there until I perform services for the client and bill for it. If your retainers have been exhausted, you should be getting bills with details of what the lawyer is doing. If your retainer hasn't been exhausted, then the money is still in escrow. Maybe there hasn't been any activity with your case, for a variety of reasons that have more to do with the law, with the parties involved and with the evidence, than with any wrongdoing by your attorneys.

It has been my experience that bar complaints are taken very seriously by the KBA, and there are many lawyers who have gotten suspended, sanctioned or disbarred when they have committed an ethics violation. It is a big deal to get a complaint and have to defend yourself. However, just because a client is dissatisfied, doesn't mean the lawyer has done anything wrong. If they've investigated two attorneys and found no wrongdoing, and you have two lawyers you feel are just taking your money and not doing anything, well, maybe it's more of a case of failure to communicate what the status of your case actually is. Some attorneys are terrible at client communication, and some clients just simply cannot understand what their attorney is telling them.

Any time you aren't comfortable with your attorney's representation, then you should look for other counsel. But if you find another lawyer and no difference, it's probably a good indication it's your case, not your lawyer, that's the hold-up.

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Answered on 4/09/11, 1:41 pm

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