A once-popular Orlando law firm is under investigation after clients said they paid thousands of dollars for service and claimed that phone calls and emails were not returned.
The Kaufman Englett Lynd (KEL) law firm has been rebranded under the new name Lawyer ASAP. The firm is owned by Matt Englett.
News 6 investigative reporter Eryka Washington spoke to a over a dozen clients who told her that they feel like they were ripped off.
One of the firm's commercials encouraged people to contact KEL for help with foreclosure or bankruptcy.
Jerry Reeves told Washington that is why he called the law firm.
“I’ve seen them advertise bankruptcy. I said 'OK, these guys looks like they are pretty good,'” Reeves said.
Reeves paid the firm more than $2,000 to handle a bankruptcy case in February. He said months went by and he received no word on his case.
“I’ve been calling them, calling them, getting the runaround,” Reeves said.
Ann Mateo said the same thing happened to her.
“Phone calls were never returned,” Mateo told Washington.
“It was like a million red flags, and I am just so disappointed that the first time I needed help from an attorney, this is what I received.”
News 6 checked online for reviews, and client after client warned of their experiences.
The Attorney General’s Office has received 35 complaints about KEL and Lawyer ASAP since January 2015.
The complaints were forwarded to the Florida Bar for review.
“Florida Bar is investigating complaints against attorney Matthew Shane Englett of Lawyer ASAP LLP for lack of communication with clients,” the Florida Bar said in a statement.
This isn’t the first time that the Florida Bar has looked into Englett.
He received an admonishment in 2010 for violating advertising rules. He was publicly reprimanded in 2014 for violating communication with clients.
Englett declined a request for an interview but sent a statement that said:
“Since 2010, our firm has represented over 50,000 clients. The vast majority of them are satisfied clients. You have made us aware of 3 clients that have an issue with our service. One of them, made us aware of her dissatisfaction over a month ago and we issued her full refund even though we can completed a substantial amount of work in her case. The other 2 we have reached out to in order to resolve any issue they may have. These numbers speak for themselves.”
“I’m not speaking about a specific case, but in regard to communication, there is a specific rule that lawyers who are licensed by the Florida Bar have to abide by,” said professor Maritza Reyes, who teaches professional responsibility at FAMU law school.
“When a client calls, you return the phone call or even send a text.”
According to the Florida Bar, the major reason for client complaints is lack of communication.
“The practice of law has changed, and the demands on the practice of law, including the demands for communication, so now clients can send emails at all times of the day and night. They can call, and I think sometimes it is very overwhelming to attorneys,” Reyes said.
Reeves is still waiting for a $700 refund.
In a statement Lawyer ASAP addressed the refund Reeves received:
"I reviewed the file and approved a refund of $700 out of the $1700 he paid us. We sent him a letter a couple days after he requested a refund informing him it takes up to 12 weeks to process refunds and that was on 9/22. We are processing his refund later this month. "
Mateo has a message for Englert : “You’re an attorney. I went to you for help, and this is the thanks I get.”
If you are not happy with your attorney, you can report him or her to the Florida Bar and file a complaint with the attorney consumer assistance program. For more on that program, click here.