Legal Question in Criminal Law in Missouri

bad lawyer

My son has been incarcerated since 4/18/03.I HIRED A LAWYER THAT WEEK.He went to see my son in jail three days later to introduce himself. HE has not presented my son with a discovery or discussed his case with him.He has not went back to the jail.WHEN I TALKED to him in October he said he was filing a motion for bond reduction on october 17.He still hasnt done that.HE DOSENT RETURN phone calls in a timely manner and tells us lies. PLEASE TELL ME WHAT I SHOULD DO.I GAVE HIM MY MONEY AND DONT HAVE IT TO GIVE TO ANOTHER LAWYER. thank you

Asked on 12/04/03, 12:09 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael R. Nack Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law

Re: bad lawyer

Even though you paid the attorney, your son is the attorney's client. Therefore, your son would have to be the one to write the attorney a letter terminating the employment and demanding a refund be made to you. If the attorney has entered his appearance in a court case, the attorney will have to file a Motion to Withdraw which the Judge may or may not grant. Usually in cases where the client fires the lawyer, the judge will not force the lawyer to stay in the case. However, in criminal cases it is not unusual for the judge to require the defendant to have another attorney enter his appearance in the court case before allowing the first attorney out. Your son has every right to discharge this first attorney, and you have every right to demand a refund. The attorney may be able to ethically keep a portion of the fees to cover the amount of time and effort expended. If you wish to file a complaint against the attorney with the Missouri Bar, you should contact the Supreme Court in Jefferson City for instructions, and they may tell you that your son would have to be the one filing the complaint. If there are problems getting a refund, various bar associations have Fee Dispute committees with voluntary procedures in place which might be useful. If you are in the St. Louis area, contact the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (314-421-4134). If you are outstate, contact the Missouri Bar in Jefferson City. If you are near Kansas City, their bar association has a similar committee. If this attorney will not participate in any of these programs, and remember they are voluntary, you may take him to court in an effort to get a refund. I hope that this information is helpful to you. Please believe that there are many good attorneys out there who will provide honest, timely legal services, and people like you can help put the bad attorneys out of business. Good luck to you and your son.

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Answered on 12/04/03, 12:29 am

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