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Changing Attorney Mid-Stream Connecticut

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  • Changing Attorney Mid-Stream Connecticut

    I started out with a Certified WC attorney, who left his law firm due to a special appointment. I was transferred to another attorney who while pleasant, doesn't seem all that knowledgable, and who is not certified. Also, calls are not returned in a timely manner. What is the process of changing attorneys in CT, and what happens with their fee percentage?

  • #2
    You would inform the attorney you no longer wish to represent you of your decision. When you find another attorney, if you do, they become the attorney on record. The attorneys are the ones to file any paperwork, not you.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      A wise old lawyer who was my mentor told me on many occasions, "Never be the third lawyer on a case. Nothing good will come of it for you."

      Based on my few experiences as the third lawyer, he was largely correct.
      I will not consider being the third lawyer on a case now, after 18 years of law practice, unless there is a truly compelling reason to do so. I don't even like being the second lawyer.

      Why? Because clients who have already had and fired two lawyers are almost always "problem clients." They often will not follow their attorney's advice, thereby lowering the value of the case. And they usually will call too frequently and tie up staff time with irrelevant or inane questions or questions that have already been answered three times and they often make unreasonable demands on the lawyer and the staff as well.

      You need to think long and hard about switching lawyers at this point. There may not be a third lawyer who is even willing to accept your case.

      Firing your lawyer because calls are not returned timely enough to make you happy is a poor reason to fire a lawyer. You are not his only client. Most good lawyers are too busy to call you back promptly every time you call. They are busy trying to get something productive accomplished, and returning your call is not likely to move the your ball down the field---it will not be productive. They are especially loathe to call you back quickly if they think you are just in need of a little hand-holding and reassurance. If he is doing a competent job otherwise, you may want to leave well enough alone.

      Try sending your questions to him in an email instead. That is much easier to handle if you are the lawyer. It is not as time-consuming and disruptive to the workday as a phone conversation.

      Keep in mind that you are not entitled to have a lawyer. You have to convince the lawyer to take you as a client. Lawyer #2 sort of inherited you, but I bet he is happy to have your case. Just try not to bug the crap out of him and his staff. Unless he is clearly incompetent, dies or gets disbarred, be careful about putting yourself in the position of trying to find a "third lawyer" to help you. A lawyer is not required to take your case.

      I know this may have come out a little harsh, and I do not mean it personally, but I am merely attempting to tell you how that third lawyer will be thinking when you try to hire him after firing the second guy.
      Bob Bollinger, Attorney
      Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law
      Charlotte, NC

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      • #4
        Food for thought, Bob, thank you.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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        • #5
          Re: Changing Attorney

          To Bob Bollinger.....Thanks for your informative response. I guess that patience has never been one of my virtues. I will hold tight for now.
          Thanks again.
          Muffy

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          • #6
            getting overcharged?

            If you think a lawyer is overcharging you, then contact the State Bar in the state where the lawyer is practicing. Most if not all State Bars are very concerned about such things and have mechanisms to help the client. It is considered unethical in every state for a lawyer to charge an "excessive fee." However, "excessive" can be a bit subjective.
            Bob Bollinger, Attorney
            Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law
            Charlotte, NC

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            • #7
              It is no surprise that those who change lawyers a lot are not taken as seriously as those who do not. Same as those who "doctor shop" or change any professional relationship numerous times. After a while the problem does not appear to be them, it appears to be you. Realize that a 3rd party case is not something that is done in a day. WC is the exception in the legal system, not the rule. Civil suits take a lot of time and it is far from unusual for the case to not go to trial for a few years. This is particularly true if you have an outstanding WC claim and have not even had the surgery yet for the injury, let alone realized the effects of that surgery. At this point, there isn't a lot for the lawyer to do.

              If the lawyer is overcharging for WC, you can take it to the state Commission. Yes, the fees that the lawyer may charge for the WC portion of a claim are fixed by law. The civil suit is however, between you and your lawyer.
              I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

              Comment


              • #8
                Muffy, Bob gave you outstanding advice. Bob and I have had this conversation a few times.

                When a client contacts us who has had one other attorney, we encourage them to remain with their attorney, talk to them, express your concerns.

                We actually will make contact with that current attorney or previous attorney to let them know the claimant is searching for other representation.

                So, it is best to express your concerns and if the office staff is willing to help you with your questions or concerns then let them. They are capable, or most are anyway.

                Good luck to ya and hang tight. Hope it works out for ya.

                Beth,
                Legal Assistant
                Workers' Comp/Claimant's Rep




                Originally posted by muffy View Post
                To Bob Bollinger.....Thanks for your informative response. I guess that patience has never been one of my virtues. I will hold tight for now.
                Thanks again.
                Muffy
                Beth,
                Legal Assistant
                Workers Compensation Specialist

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by muffy View Post
                  To Bob Bollinger.....Thanks for your informative response. I guess that patience has never been one of my virtues. I will hold tight for now.
                  Thanks again.
                  Muffy
                  I'm not saying don't to give it a chance, but I switched lawyers and it was no big deal. All you have to do is let the old lawyer know you don't want to use his/her services and the new one will take care of everything after that. My first lawyer was a mess. My whole case was in disarray because of lack of communication on his part. The appropriate paperwork and records were never sent to the appropriate people etc.....all he did was file my case with the comission, then drop the ball. I'm much much much happier with my second choice! Go with your gut instinct!!!

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                  • #10
                    In Ohio, fees are normally 1/3 of due and accrued and then 5%-10% on ongoing comp. 1/3 of PPD and 1/3 of lss.

                    Ohio law on comp/fees are much different the other states....we dont charge for attending hearings on medical treatment issues, medications, or authorizations for diagnostics. Basically only a fee is charged if money is involved.

                    Beth

                    Originally posted by joec
                    One other thing I don't know how it works there,but here every time you call the attorney there is a charge,that is why you want to get all your questions answered at the initial consultation,which is free.
                    JoeC
                    Beth,
                    Legal Assistant
                    Workers Compensation Specialist

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      That is actually pretty common and the fee is usually taken out of the final award, not paid directly by the injured worker. The % or fee set by the statute is intended to cover the work done on the claim, but not necessarily every phone call or minute spent on the claim.
                      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                      Comment

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