Many clients who have worked with negligent or incompetent attorneys consider filing a formal complaint, but choose not to. There are several reasons why clients may decline to file a complaint. Lawyers hold a certain position of power in their relationships with clients, and many people feel too intimidated to make a formal complaint. In other situations, clients may form a close bond with their attorney and feel guilty about filing a complaint against them.
Whatever the reason, deciding not to complain about an attorney’s poor behavior may be a mistake that you regret. You should know that it is perfectly acceptable—and even necessary—to file a complaint about your negligent attorney.
Holding them accountable
Attorneys have an obligation to behave competently, professionally and ethically. Attorneys who disregard this obligation are putting their clients’ cases at risk and should be held accountable for their actions. By filing a formal complaint, you will be one step closer to holding bad lawyers accountable for their bad behavior.
When a lawyer neglects their duty to you, you could experience serious repercussions. Not only might you lose your case, you might lose money because of legal fees or trial settlements that you have to pay and you may suffer emotional damage. In many cases, victims of legal malpractice are able to receive compensation for the damage they suffer. The first step in receiving compensation is making your complaint known.
Preventing future malpractice
If an incompetent or unscrupulous lawyer is allowed to continue practicing, there is a good chance that he could take advantage of even more clients. Filing a complaint can alert the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics to a lawyer’s misconduct. From there, it may take the necessary steps to prevent this attorney from harming more clients.
How to file a formal complaint
When you are ready to file a complaint, you should contact the Office of Attorney Ethics. It is wise to work with a legal malpractice attorney. The right attorney can help you navigate the complaint system faster, and victims of malpractice can benefit greatly from having an advocate fighting for them.