Selecting the right attorney for your case is crucial if you actually want to come out on top. Not all lawyers possess the same experience or standard of professionalism, and unfortunately, even if you do all the necessary research before you hire someone, you can still end up with a legal team that doesn’t do your case justice. There are several warning signals to watch out for that are good indications you’re receiving less than adequate services.
Failing to Communicate
Open and honest communication is key for any attorney-client relationship. If you are unable to ever get your lawyer on the phone, you don’t receive calls or emails back in a timely manner or you can’t schedule time to meet face to face, it’s not a good sign. While you can probably count on your attorney to be reasonably busy and should understand that they have other cases to tend to as well, you shouldn’t have to question if they are giving your case the amount of attention it deserves or if they even care about it at all. When you hire a lawyer, it’s fair to expect good and somewhat prompt communication throughout the process so that you know what’s going on with your case at all times.
Missing Deadlines/Vague References to the Law or Proceedings
An attorney who misses deadlines or doesn’t seem to know what they’re talking about when they refer to local laws and court proceedings should send off little alarms in your head. A truly experienced lawyer will be familiar with all jurisdictional laws, statutes, regulations, deadlines, court processes, etc. that pertain to your type of case and will be able to confidently and accurately answer any question you throw their way. Unknowledgeable and careless attorneys can cause serious damage to their clients’ cases.
Insufficiently Preparing You For Important Obligations
An efficient legal team will want to make sure their client is well-prepared for all dispositions, court dates and other important obligations and will spend the time properly preparing and educating them. If you are expected to just show up without any kind of rundown about the proceedings, it can cause you even more stress and end up being detrimental to your case.
Padding the Bill
When you retain counsel, there should be a clear understanding from the beginning of what fees and payments are going to look like. If you begin to receive invoices that seem excessively high, it could be that your attorney is billing you above and beyond what you agreed upon and has found ways to include charges for services that weren’t actually performed or that they have no real business attaching a price to (photocopying documents, attempted phone calls, etc.).
Uninterested in Working Together
As mentioned above, communication is vital to a successful working relationship and so is a good attitude. An attorney that talks down to you or is more interested in their own agenda than they are in listening to your ideas or concerns isn’t usually worth the time, money or effort being spent. The most favorable lawyers know how to work together with their clients to achieve a positive outcome by balancing compassion with professionalism and patience.
Promises, Promises, Promises
Another sign that you might want to turn around and seek new counsel is if an attorney is constantly promising that your case is a surefire win. No matter how good your case may be, there is never a way to predict the results of a legal matter. Anything can happen, and it’s your lawyer’s job to be honest with you about that and continue to do the research and work necessary to give you their best efforts.
If you notice any of these red flags, don’t hesitate to get out of a bad situation as soon as you can and find an attorney who practices ethical law and cares enough to fight for your rights.
About the Author
Tiffany Olson is an established guest blogger and loves to share legal and law related information with the public. When she’s not busy writing or researching you will usually find her doing yoga, cooking, or traveling.