Know the Laws:
UPDATED March 26, 2010
Nothing can be more frustrating than when you feel that the judge or lawyer on your case is not performing their work properly. Sometimes you feel that the judge or lawyer isn’t paying enough attention to your case or is not considering domestic violence as a critical issue when deciding a protection order, custody or divorce case. It can also be frustrating when you cannot afford a lawyer but your local legal services organization has turned you down. Here are some ideas/ options to consider when you feel “the system” (judges and lawyers) has failed you.
If you have problems with your lawyer or you think your lawyer is not representing you well, talk to your lawyer. It is usually best to discuss your concerns with the attorney, ask for specific things that you want from him/her, and give the attorney a chance to correct his/her actions. If that doesn't work, here are a few other ideas:
If you cannot afford a lawyer, but cannot get free legal services, you might be able to ask the judge to order the other party (husband, ex-husband, boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, etc) to pay for your lawyer’s legal fees. Depending on the type of case and the state you live in, sometimes judges evaluate your financial situation as well as the other party’s financial situation and can order the other person to pay for any legal fee or cost involved in the legal process. When looking for a private lawyer, you can ask if s/he would be willing to make this request on your behalf in court. If it is a divorce case where you expect to be getting a large sum of money in a divorce settlement, perhaps the lawyer may delay getting paid until the case is complete or work out a payment plan. For certain cases, such as a personal injury case or an employment discrimination case, you may likely be able to find a lawyer who will take your case for a contingency fee -- where the lawyer will get a percentage of the money from your winnings in the case.
You may also want to contact any law schools in your area because sometimes they have legal clinics and can take cases for free. In these clinics, law school students provide assistance and representation under the supervision of their professors.