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Statutes on legal malpractice

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Long story short, I wanted to file a small claims suit against someone who defrauded me. I did the legwork by filing it myself, but after realizing this was going to be a lot more complicated than I thought, I sought help from a lawyer. He listened to the details, and said, "I understand why you're upset and while you do have a legitimate case, this is going to be really expensive and might cost more than the lawsuit is worth. You probably should let it go and try to forget about it." I said no, I'm tired of people walking over the "dumb foreigner." He gave me the power of attorney sheet to sign and said he would get on everything.

 

Two months later, he wrote me an email saying, "I read the details of your case. I don't think there is any chance of winning this at all. Sorry to bring you bad news, but this is impossible. You really should just drop this and move on. I have clients who have been taken for thousands of euros, or even in the ten thousands. This €550 is chicken feed that you aren't going to miss after a couple of months." I sent him multiple emails trying explain further and asked to see him in his office. He ignored all the emails. Every time I called, he was never there.

 

My appointment for the court hearing came, and the judge said, "I gave you a deadline of x date to answer and present all your evidence. Since you did not answer, your case is dismissed." I frantically said that my lawyer never told me we had to submit our arguments in writing or that I had any deadline for that since all court correspondence was sent to him directly--she told me that is an issue between me and him. And since the value of my lawsuit is under €600, I can't even appeal it.

 

And unsurprisingly, this dirtbag then mailed me a bill for €250.

 

I'm trying to look up statutes on legal malpractice, as I see this as a deliberate act to make me lose and collect his "earnings" without having to lift a finger. I'm not coming across anything, probably because I don't know the legal terminology in German. What are the statutes for situations like this when a lawyer deliberately hides information, misses deadlines so that you automatically lose, doesn't appear to the appointment, and then demands money? The way I see it, if he didn't want to take my case, he should have said so right at the start, and I would have gone to another lawyer. 

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25 minutes ago, razorsandroses said:

... I sought help from a lawyer. He listened to the details, and said, "I understand why you're upset and while you do have a legitimate case, this is going to be really expensive and might cost more than the lawsuit is worth. You probably should let it go and try to forget about it."

 

We have a long-time friend who is a Rechtsanwalt & Notar & he gave basically the same general advice: "Anything under 4000 Euros is not worth persuing" .

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I would assume that there must be a governing body for lawyers here in Germany.

 

I would start by going to the Bürgerberatungsstelle somewhere in your city or near you, or talking to another, perhaps friendly lawyer.

 

I'm not saying you will get anywhere, but if you can find out who governs Lawyers and grass him up for being a bit naughty, or at least ask them about this kind of thing, I assume it would be under a code of ethics.

 

We had a situation when we bought our house, We had a friend lined up to do translation for us (qualified), but the Notar said not to worry and he could do it for us, no problem, we told him that our friend would do it at a good price and his words were "Don't worry about it, I'll do it for you", he them promptly charged us 250 euros.  I think this was probably not a complete breach, as it seems with your situation, it seems like something they can do to have plausible deniability "I just wasn't there when he called", though I don't know what he would say about ignoring Emails...  but it strikes me that you have a group of people who are already notoriously slippery (lawyers) and on top of that you haver the German sense of right and wrong (there is no right and wrong, only what is and is not allowed) and you have an ethical black hole.

 

The only other thing to do is go to the papers, or maybe your Burgermeister? 

 

I've had more than my fair share of this kind of thing since I've lived here, I've never had anything like it before - it does seem to be a German thing, at least in my lived experience.

 

Good luck, and may both your lawyer and the other people fall over and a gritty car park and graze the palms of their hands (with some little bits of gravel in there too for good measure).  I find willing misfortune of my foes is somewhat amusing, but fairly useless, however if something bad does happen - it feels really great.

 

D

 

 

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1 hour ago, razorsandroses said:

"I understand why you're upset and while you do have a legitimate case, this is going to be really expensive and might cost more than the lawsuit is worth. You probably should let it go and try to forget about it."

I actually think that is surprisingly fair advice for so many claims.

The quotes you have provided are unusually colloquial for a lawyer and it wouldn't surprise me if the wording was more specific in German. For example, when he told you that he thought it was "impossible" and he told you to drop the case, I think it is reasonable that he dropped you as a client: re-read his emails, perhaps that is what he was actually saying. If so, then it is unlikely he had any ongoing obligation to provide any further advice.

In any event, the suggestion that he had a deliberate plan to make you lose your claim seems highly unlikely.

Nonetheless, if you are still determined to chase the lawyer (although this does seem like throwing good time/money after bad) your port of call could be either the local Rechtsanwaltskammer or a mediation service like: https://www.schlichtungsstelle-der-rechtsanwaltschaft.de 

 

 

 

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If he was dropping me as a client, he would have had to mail an official kündigung to both myself and the court. The court roster had both my name and the lawyers name as the litigants, and before the case started, the judge asked me if he was coming. 

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