What are some first steps that should be taken when a settlement check written to a client (resident in NYC) by an NYC law firm bounces? Aside from
Better Business Bureau page about filing complaints against lawyers, is there any oversight mechanism, or regulatory body, or state or city office that can help to resolve this?
Background: Two years ago my partner was hit by a car while crossing the street. He hired a personal injury law firm recommended by someone who had used that firm before. They dealt with the insurance company and reached a settlement. The amount after the lawyers fees to be paid was around $16,000.
For the last year, my partner has been in a back and forth with the firm, trying to get the check. Every time he called, the lawyer was out of the office. They wouldn't mail the check, they wanted to hand it over in person, they arranged several meetings but the firm would always cancel the day of. This went on until finally my partner said he was coming to the office and would sit there until they gave him the check. So they then agreed to mail him a check, he received it and deposited it.
The $16,000 check bounced and he just found out today. As a result, the bank froze my partner's bank accounts because, they said, this is 'shady activity.' He called the lawyer, who said there's nothing he could do because there is no one at the office until Monday. Lawyer said he has no idea how that could have happened. Admittedly, it's possible that the law firm will fix the issue on Monday, and that it was a clerical error - but considering how evasive they have been over the last year, we're concerned and want to gather resources so we can begin a response. At the very least we plan to ask them for a cashiers check on Monday. Other steps?
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Or more specifically: Who watches the lawyers?