Legal malpractice and negligence

Hired a "reliable" attorney. Signed retainer. He quit & took off with my money. Oppositions due less than 5 days. No response.

Prior attorney suspended by state bar.  Hired new attorney w/o bar complaints to represent my 5 year long case--civil trial May 8. Educated him for 3 weeks about case. Provided all files. He reviewed complaint & defendant's MSJ. Said my case is strong, defendant's case weak. Terms $5,000 down/20% contingency. Signed retainer--have copy. Paid $5k. Signed sub of atty form. Attorney said he'll file oppositions to defendant's motions before they're due shortly. Met 3 hours to discuss trial prep. After 3 days, attorney sent email he won't represent me, did not file sub of attorney with court, but will return my money. He disappeared for over a week. No return of money or files. Staff say he's acting weird. Opp due in less than 5 days. HELP! I can lose everything. What do I do?

Nathan’s Answer

You'd ideally have another attorney step in and request a continuance. You are entitled your monies back if your current attorney really has just bailed. However, if there has been a true emergency, the court might allow the matter to move forward if your current attorney can articulate what has been going on. You should probably have another attorney review this attorney's behavior and inquire what is going on and if an attorney can both handle this legal matter for you as well as control the transition of the file over from your former counsel while getting your money back, all the better.

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