Handle problems with your lawyer

If you have questions or concerns about your case, first talk to your lawyer. If you are having serious problems with your lawyer and have been unable to resolve them, there are other things you can do.

Work with your lawyer to resolve issues

Talk to your lawyer about any concerns and listen to their responses. If you are having trouble communicating with your lawyer, many local bar associations have client relations programs that can help you communicate better with your lawyer.

Handle disputes about lawyer fees

Many local bar associations can help you resolve fee disputes with your lawyer. The State Bar's Mandatory Fee Arbitration (MFA) Program can help resolve attorney-client fee disputes without having to go to court. Lawyers must participate in such arbitration if a client asks for it. If there is no local program to handle your fee dispute or if a conflict of interest exists with the local program in your case, contact the State Bar's MFA Program.

To locate a program in your area, contact your local bar association. You can also visit the online State Bar's Mandatory Fee Arbitration (MFA) Program or call the State Bar's Office of Mandatory Fee Arbitration at 1-415-538-2020.

Handle concerns about ethics

If you believe your lawyer acted unethically or intentionally mishandled your case, you can file a complaint with The State Bar of California. The State Bar is in charge of complaints against lawyers and lawyer discipline.

The Attorney Discipline System takes complaints against lawyers, investigates those complaints, and prosecutes lawyers when allegations of unethical conduct by them appear to be justified. The website gives you more instructions on filing a complaint, complaint forms, and other information.

You can also call:

Attorney Complaint Hotline — 1-800-843-9053

(If calling from outside California — 1-213-765-1200)

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