Is there a law regarding an attorney abandoning a client?

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Is there a law regarding an attorney abandoning a client?

I have used the services of a matrimonial/ divorce attorney for over a year. I have paid in excess of $30,000 to date, however I have an outstanding bill for now for $6,000 (I had asked for a payment plan). My divorce was finalized but my ex-husband has not paid child support nor complied with visitation agreements. I called my attorney and was told that she was not able to speak with me until the final payment was made. I feel this is unethical and I wonder if her position is actually illegal.

Asked on January 22, 2016 under Family Law, North Carolina

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

An attorney is prohibited from abandoning a client by the rules of professional responsibility.  Considering the amount you have paid and that you intended to continue with a payment plan, the firm telling the attorney not to speak with  you is unethical.
You can file a complaint with the State Bar regarding client abandonment and the attorney will be subject to discipline.  Sometimes a call from the State Bar may prompt the attorney to act and resolve the matter.


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