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Can I Switch Lawyers for my MacLaren Hall Sexual Abuse Case?


MacLaren Hall opened in the 1940s with the intent of providing shelter to children who were suffering from severe abuse and neglect. Tragically, it wasn’t long before those children entered into another type of nightmare – one that was filled with physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. In particular, allegations of sexual assault by workers at the group home have been an on-going issue for several decades. However, many children were left to suffer at the hands of the very people who were supposed to take care of them. Twelve of these victims filed a lawsuit in June 2022, demanding justice from the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services for ignoring their cries for help.

Are you a former foster child that was sexually abused while staying at MacLaren Hall? In that case, you may be in the middle of a lawsuit to recover the damages you are owed. However, you have concerns about the way your case is being handled due to your attorney’s lack of communication. Perhaps there are other issues that seem like red flags, but you’re not sure about your legal options when you have a pending claim.

DTLA Law Group is here for you if you’ve found yourself asking, “Can I change the lawyer I have for a MacLaren Hall sex abuse case?” While you are allowed to change lawyers at any point, it’s not something you should do on a whim. To help you make the best possible decision, we would like to invite you for a free second opinion at our office. For more information on your legal rights as a MacLaren Hall sex abuse victim, contact us at your earliest convenience.

Why is my Lawyer taking so long to get back to me?

Frankly, there’s no way of knowing for sure why an attorney is taking so long to get back to a client. However, lawyers are human beings with busy schedules like most other people, especially if they work for large, well known law firms. Such places have built their reputations on high volume caseloads, which is why they stay so profitable. Unfortunately, it’s the client that suffers in these situations, as their lawyer struggles to maintain all their responsibilities.

Regardless of the reason, it’s a lawyer’s duty to provide timely responses to their client’s phone calls, emails, or any other form of communication. Much of the time, an injury victim simply wants reassurance that their case is on the right track. When they don’t hear from their attorney for weeks at a time, it’s easy for a plaintiff to panic and lose faith in the justice system. In short, it is your right to expect a response from your attorney within a reasonable timeframe, which for us, is around 1 to 2 business days.

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My Attorney takes forever to get back to me – Can I Switch my Lawyer?

No matter what stage you’re at with your lawsuit, you have the right to fire your attorney and find a new lawyer to take over your case. In fact, continuing a lawsuit with another law firm is quite common, though it’s not a decision you should make lightly. However, signs that a lawyer’s isn’t invested in your case must not be ignored. For example, lack of communication may indicate that an attorney is disorganized or inexperienced. It can also be a sign of greed, meaning they are more concerned about signing up as many clients as possible, even if that means many of them will not get the time and attention they deserve.

So, yes, if your lawyer is taking entirely too long to acknowledge your calls, or you have to call them back repeatedly before they respond, it may be time to look for a new attorney.

What are my Rights if my Lawyer won’t Return my Calls?

You’re having issues with your lawyer, and by now, you’re tired of waiting for things to change. If you want to take action against the attorney that’s representing you in a MacLaren Hall lawsuit, you have several options:

  • Make an effort to work things out with your lawyer by writing them a formal letter. Be as kind and professional as possible, while clearly explaining what the problems are. You can email the letter or send it postal mail, making sure to save a copy for your records. Sometimes, this may be all that’s needed for your lawyer to give you the needed time and attention.
  • File a complaint against your attorney by calling the State Bar of California or filling out the complaint forms, which can be found on their website. Please be aware that you will need proof of how your lawyer’s lack of communication (or any other issues) is hurting your case. Without compelling evidence, it’s unlikely that the Bar will investigate your complaint.
  • In many cases, finding a new attorney is the easiest and most practical option. In our experience we find that untimely responses mask deeper issues regarding a lawyer’s character or their ability to recover a client’s settlement. The longer you wait to fire such an attorney, the more difficult it will be to get your case back on track. To discuss the possibility of switching your lawyer with a pending MacLaren Hall sexual assault claim, contact us for a free second opinion.
Should I Look for a New Lawyer before I Fire my Current Attorney?

Ultimately, it’s up to you as to whether you should fire your current lawyer or find a new one first. However, our recommendation is to look for a new attorney, who can help you with the process of transferring your case to a new firm. Based on our many years of experience as attorneys, we understand that it’s not a great feeling to be rejected by a client. But you would expect that a lawyer can stay professional and do what they can to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen numerous cases of clients who were misled on their legal rights. Most commonly, their law firm will refuse to release their case file unless they pay an outstanding balance or an administrative fee to copy, package, and mail the documents. First, even if you have an outstanding balance, you are still entitled to your case file, which is legally your property. Second, your law firm should not be charging you anything beyond the cost of shipping your case file to your new attorney.

Right or wrong, these problems can cause significant delays in your lawsuit, which is the last thing you need. That’s why we handle the entire transfer process on behalf of new clients who are coming to us from other law firms. Our goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible for you, while avoiding any issues that can cause irreparable damage to your case.

Is Changing Lawyer truly in my Best Interest?

It’s natural to question whether you should change lawyers or not, even if you’re certain that your attorney isn’t right for you. It’s essential to go over all the issues in your case and weigh the pros and cons of finding new representation for a MacLaren Hall sexual abuse lawsuit. A free second opinion with a sexual assault lawyer at our office is a good place to start. We can help you decide if the issues between you and your attorney are personal grievances, or serious warning signs of apathy or incompetence.

Of course, the final decision is up to you, but please consider a meeting with us if the responses and updates from your attorney are few and far between. Child sexual abuse lawsuits are extremely sensitive and complex cases, and consistence communication is the key to a successful outcome.

Settlement Values for MacLaren Hall Sex Abuse Cases

Since we are in the early stage with these claims, it would be impossible to say what these lawsuits are worth on average. However, sexual violence against a minor is one of the worst crimes anyone can commit. Public sentiment against child predators is reflected in settlements for child sex abuse cases, which are typically in the range of $1 million to $7.5 million and above. However, these are estimates based on previous settlements and verdicts, meaning they may not reflect the value of your own case. That’s a subject you will need to discuss with one of our lawyers, so please contact us if you’re interested in a free consultation.

How long does it take to Settle a Child Sexual Assault Case?

As with any personal injury claim, our goal is to resolve your case and bring you the payment you deserve within 6 to 8 months. This may be possible, as there is mounting pressure on Los Angeles County to compensate the victims for what they’ve gone through. On the other hand, government agencies don’t go down easy when it comes to accusations of wrongdoing, especially child sexual abuse. With that in mind, settling your case may take over a year, and possibly 2 years or longer if a trial is necessary.

What is the Deadline to File my Lawsuit?

Under AB-218 (California’s Assembly Bill 218), you have up to the age of 40, or 22 years after turning the age of majority, to file a lawsuit as an adult survivor of child sexual abuse. Another standard you can use is the discovery rule. If the victim finds out well into adulthood that they were sexually assaulted, or discovers an injury resulting from the abuse, they have 5 years from the discovery date to sue for compensation. Your deadline to file a lawsuit is based on whichever date comes later, but it’s best to confirm the correct statute of limitations for your claim with an experienced attorney. Keep in mind that extensions are rarely granted if you exceed the statute of limitations. That’s why we encourage you to reach out to us and learn about the legal process to initiate a claim.

Contact DTLA Law Group

There’s no doubt that countless foster children at MacLaren Hall were betrayed by the system that was charged with keeping them safe. Justice is possible for these victims, as we can attest from the many child sexual assault victims we’ve represented over the years.

Right now, you may be feeling another sense of betrayal by an attorney that isn’t treating you with the respect and compassion you deserve. Perhaps finding a new lawyer is the best course of action, but this is a decision that you want to be 100% sure about. We can assist you with a second opinion, which is your chance to receive a free case review from a child sex abuse lawyer at our office. Our expert will make their recommendations, but there’s no pressure to do anything beyond meeting with us.

We also provide free legal services under the Zero fee guarantee if you decide to continue your lawsuit with us. It’s our belief that the cost of legal representation should fall on the perpetrator, not the victim. Our fees are included in your settlement award, so we only get paid by winning your case. If you’re a MacLaren Hall sexual abuse victim in need of a second opinion, don’t hesitate to give us a call.


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