What to do about an inept attorney

I am really sorry to hear you’ve been having trouble with your attorney. It sounds like you’re on the right track by contacting the State Bar office.

I imagine the reason the newspaper would not give you the information you were looking for is because they will probably only communicate with the attorneys of represented parties. If you are planning to fire your current attorney, you should let the newspaper know that you’ve done so once that has happened. Other than that, you may have to start from scratch on your own. You must have some documentation that your spouse was properly served, even by publication, before the judge will grant your divorce.

Good luck!

Shonnese D. Stanback
The Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.256.1534 direct voice
919.256.1667 direct fax
919.787.6668 main voice
919.787.6361 main fax
email: sstanback@rosen.com

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.

This past January I hired an attorney for a very simple divorce - no kids, no property, no nothing. Since then, this attorney has gone on medical leave (for having a baby), which is fine - except she didn’t notify me or apparently other clients for months. The answering machine message didn’t say anything about being on medical leave until the third month of absence. And for the two months before that, it was impossible to leave a message because no one ever answered or cleared out the answering machine. (I called every day at different times of the day.) She also wasn’t answering any mail, because I sent a certified letter that was never received. (I had to sign for my own letter being sent back to me because no one would sign for it - pretty interesting.)

Anyway, I filed a complaint with the NC Bar and got help with trying to get my money back, contacted a couple other lawyers about taking my case, etc. Then one day not long ago, someone decided to show up at my current attorney’s office. I called about my divorce and was told that a legal ad had run in September but they were just waiting for the newspaper to send them the notification that the ad run.

I called the paper and they said the ad actually ran three times in July, but they hadn’t sent my lawyer anything because my lawyer hadn’t paid them. Amazing, since I had paid my attorney in April - and doubly amazing since they only ran the ad after I called them in June to see how things were going since the 40-day wait period was about over, when it hadn’t even started - idiots.

The last time I had talked to someone in my attorney’s office (I’ve never met or spoken to the actual attorney) was in September, and I was told that the ad had finished running and that they were waiting one more day of the required 40 for a response, if any, from my wife. And then it would go to the judge.

After several days of trying to follow up on my attorney not paying her bills, I am here today writing this note.

I could hire another attorney, but since I know the ad had actually ran, all I need is to get the whatever I need mailed back to my attorney and then have the case put on the calendar and then I’m done.

However, I don’t want to deal with such an inept office anymore. But I’m so close to being done and actually don’t want to hire another person to start over.

Is there any legal way for me to get the required info. from the newspaper myself (even though they told me on the phone they were sorry they could not mail me anything, it had to go to the attorney)?

In my fantasy world, I’d like to take everything myself, not hire another attorney (because it’s such a cut-and-dry divorce) and get it done without starting over at square 1.

Am I just too giddy to see Return of the King, or can this somehow work?