Whether you suffer injuries in an accident, go through a divorce or start a new business, chances are at some point you will seek the counsel of an attorney. Most people who obtain the services of an attorney do so because they are dealing with legal issues that are beyond their skill or knowledge. This means they have a lot at stake, and they are placing a great deal of trust in a legal professional.
If you seldom deal with attorneys, it may be difficult recognizing when the one you have hired is a good one or one that will leave you wondering if more could have been done to help you meet your goals. Although every professional has his or her own style, there may be some signs that you should walk away and look for someone else to handle your legal issues.
Watch for these red flags
You may be someone who believes you can size someone up on a first meeting. Perhaps you have certain standards, such as not dealing with a professional who has a messy desk or calls you by your first name. These or other factors may influence your decision to hire a lawyer or consult with someone else. However, the following are often indications that your attorney may not be seeking your best interests:
- You are not receiving regular updates on your case, or your attorney refuses to use the method of communication with which you are most comfortable, such as texts or phone calls.
- Your attorney does not answer your messages even when you send a certified letter.
- Your attorney has an excuse for every missed deadline or unfiled document.
- Other cases or personal issues distract your attorney from giving your case full attention.
- Your attorney’s methods involve unethical actions, such as lying in court or tampering with evidence.
- He or she makes decisions about your case without discussing them with you.
- Your legal fees are confusing or seem much higher than they should be.
- Other attorneys have no respect for your lawyer.
Of course, if you put stock in online reviews, you can always check your attorney’s ratings, but even these may not give you the full picture. In fact, you may find yourself deep in a legal battle before you realize that your hired counsel is not working for your best interests. Difficult as it may be, at some point you may have to look for someone new to take your case. If you have suffered damages as a result, you may be a victim of legal malpractice.