What to do if my lawyer spends my settlement money?

I got in a car accident in 2009 and won my case. I sued the driver and also went through my mother’s boyfriend’s insurance since he lived with us. My lawyer gave me a check for a portion of the money and still owed me $20,000. He sent me a check which got returned due to insufficient funds. I informed him about it 3 weeks ago and he sent me $3,000. I have incurred fees from the bank about this whole situation. He just seems to be blowing me off. What should I do. I would think this was a simple mistake but I know him personally he dates my friends aunt so I now know he has a drug problem.

Asked on July 23, 2010 under Business Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is not only illegal to take client funds but it is unethical as well.  This is a serious charge so please be absolutely sure that you have your facts straight.  And if you do, then you have to seek help in doing what you need to get your money, which may include having to report the attorney to the Ethics Committee in your area.  You can go and speak with another attorney to help you.  It is my understanding that there exists in Massachusetts Clients' Security Boards.  They make sure that clients whose funds taken by dishonest acts by members of the Bar Association have a way to get their money back.  Here is a link to help you start.  Good luck. 

http://www.mass.gov/ClientsSecurityBoard/who.html


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