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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    15

    Default Can My Lawyer Negotiate a Settlement With My Ex- Without Informing Me

    My question involves legal malpractice in the state of: Illinois

    I am in a custody battle. I have had the kids in my custody since the divorce. The divorce was in another country and there wasn't an agreement on custody. I hired an attorney in Illinois a month ago. I have not heard from my attorney in weeks. I thought my lawyer was probably busy because of the holidays. I got an email from the attorney yesterday explaining that my ex contacted their office a couple days ago looking to hire them, not knowing that firm was already representing me. My attorney's boss talked to my ex and informed my ex that they were representing me and to save time and money, my ex should sign a custody agreement. My ex called my attorney the next day and my attorney's boss sent my ex a custody agreement. I have never even seen or agreed to any costody agreement. I went to my attorney's the day after I got the email and the boss was extremely rude and said he could not talk to me because he talked to my ex. I can't even get my attorney that I paid several thousand dollars to, to call me back.

    Is this legal? I feel like my rights have been violated and this is the biggest case of Legal Malpractice ever.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: My Lawyer Negotiate a Settlement With My Ex- Without Informing Me

    Quote Quoting jamesricci
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    I got an email from the attorney yesterday explaining that my ex contacted their office a couple days ago looking to hire them, not knowing that firm was already representing me. My attorney's boss talked to my ex and informed my ex that they were representing me and to save time and money, my ex should sign a custody agreement.
    No problem so far.
    Quote Quoting jamesricci
    My ex called my attorney the next day and my attorney's boss sent my ex a custody agreement.
    What custody terms were you asking your lawyer to try to obtain for you, and what was the difference between your proposal and what the law firm proposed to your ex?
    Quote Quoting jamesricci
    I have never even seen or agreed to any costody agreement
    They didn't provide you with a copy with the email? Did you reply back and request a copy?
    Quote Quoting jamesricci
    I went to my attorney's the day after I got the email and the boss was extremely rude and said he could not talk to me because he talked to my ex.
    Perhaps the problem is that the boss consulted for too long with your ex- before he realized that there was a conflict of interest, and thus has to wall himself off from your case? Talk to your attorney.
    Quote Quoting jamesricci
    I can't even get my attorney that I paid several thousand dollars to, to call me back.
    You got an email yesterday. You contacted the law firm today. Sometimes people are busy and cannot return a call instantaneously.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: My Lawyer Negotiate a Settlement With My Ex- Without Informing Me

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    No problem so far.

    My ex called my attorney's office wanting to hire that firm. Are you saying it is OK? I believed that the law states the firm can give out any information execpt to tell them it is a conflict of interest?

    What custody terms were you asking your lawyer to try to obtain for you, and what was the difference between your proposal and what the law firm proposed to your ex?

    My ex cannot take the kids out of the country and I need to know where they are at all times because of threats he's made.

    They didn't provide you with a copy with the email? Did you reply back and request a copy?

    I was finally provided with a copy after asking for it.

    Perhaps the problem is that the boss consulted for too long with your ex- before he realized that there was a conflict of interest, and thus has to wall himself off from your case? Talk to your attorney.

    My attorney told me that the boss looked up the names my ex gave. The boss then explained to my ex that they were representing me but the conversation continued and the boss discussed with my ex a variety of ways to come to an agreement and my personal information. My ex called the firm the following day and asked for the agreement. I had no knowlege of any of this. I was informed by email after it had all taken place.

    You got an email yesterday. You contacted the law firm today. Sometimes people are busy and cannot return a call instantaneously.

    I'm saying between the time I paid the firm and now, I could not get hold of my attorney. Before I gave my attorney any money I was given 2 options.

    1. The firm contacts my ex and negotiates an agreement.

    2. The firm delivers, in person, papers to my ex with a court date.

    I paid for option 2.

    I believe that the boss broke many laws pertaining to the "attorney client privelage" along with other confidentiality laws?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: My Lawyer Negotiate a Settlement With My Ex- Without Informing Me

    Based on what facts?

    I have suggested the possibility that the boss consulted with your ex- without performing a proper conflicts check, such that he's now staying out of the case, but even that's an inference.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    854

    Default Re: My Lawyer Negotiate a Settlement With My Ex- Without Informing Me

    Yeowch.

    Based on what you have written here, you should seek new counsel ASAP.

    True story: My father was a leading, well known family law practitioner in our county. A colleague's wife spent six months consulting with every top family law firm in the county behind her husband's back. Every last one. Of course, due to confidentiality of the atty/client privilege, these lawyers had no idea what she was doing. When she finally retained a lawyer and had him served with the petition, and her husband was unable to retain any of the lawyers he would have chosen to represent him because of those consultations. She knew exactly what she was doing. When one lawyer after another (including my father) informed him of the conflict due to having provided her with a consultation, he realized exactly what she had done. He was forced to retain a lawyer in a neighboring county.

    Your lawyer screwed the pooch on this one. As soon as he learned who she was he should have ended the meeting on the spot.

    At a minimun a complaint to the State Bar is in order.

    And to answer your initial question - no, your lawyer cannot attempt to negotiate a settlement with you ex without full disclosure to you and then only after obtaining your express consent to do so, and upon your approval of the terms being offered for settlement.

    And while theoretically clients on opposing sides can be represented by the same firm, it is NOT good practice.

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