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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41220
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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Re: criminal matter/ little experience Hello. I am a new

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Re: criminal matter/ little experience
Hello. I am a new attorney with about one year of private practice in family law. I had a former divorce client of mine call out of the blue stating that they were arrested for allegedly stalking an ex-lover. I have only handled several criminal cases throughout my career, but took this case on an emergency basis, being that the person was a former client. This client is adamant about pleading not guilty and will not accept any type of plea. Any suggestions? I have never gone to trial so I'm debating whether I should ask the person to seek other counsel. Additional info: I took this case on a pro-bono basis because I wanted to help.

Thank you for your question. It is always a pleasure to assist a fellow member of the bar.

The question here is whether or not the client is adamant because that is how they are set to plea, or if they are not listening to your suggestions. The concern is even with a pro-bono client (and most especially pro-bono clients as they happen to make complaints to the county bar about 4 times more than paying clients), you owe a duty of the more professional and zealous representation. If you feel that you do not know enough, drop the case--this is a situation that is far more serious than a breach of contract or a divorce concern, you have a potential loss of liberty or a permanent criminal record for the client if he ends up losing. Furthermore it opens you up to a potential 'ineffective assistance of counsel' complaint to your local bar if he later ends up feeling that you did not adequately represent him. If you are not communicating with your client in a way that you find to be acceptable, and it is not yet close to trial, you can still withdraw without judicial consent, and that may be where you may want to consider looking. Clients either work with you or do things on their own, but still hold you responsible when they may end up not prevailing. If he is not listening to you and you do not see his case as being favorable, attempt to explain that to him and then withdraw.

Good luck.

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