Searching for a lawyer can be stressful, with a lot of uncertainties about how to begin and how to avoid hiring a bad attorney. There are signs, however, that may indicate when a particular attorney is not right for your case.
- Poor communication. The way a client is to correspond with an injury lawyer should be established from the start. Does the attorney prefer contact through email or a telephone call? When messages are ignored or it seems to take an extremely long time to call back or respond, this may not be a good sign. Another way that communication might be inadequate is when a client isn’t receiving updates on the case.
- The attorney demonstrates incompetence. It is important to hire a lawyer who has experience in the practice area specific to the case. Mistakes may be made, but when they are unreasonable and result in a case possibly being lost, the client needs to start considering alternate lawyer options. Incompetency might be demonstrated through a lack of skills but it may also be evident through a lack of organization. If you notice poor organization that could harm the case, the search for a lawyer should continue.
- Lack of ethics. This may indicate a bad attorney in a variety of ways, such as creating false evidence or obtaining a false witness. When a lawyer is only interested in collecting a fee, the lawyer may show little or no regard for the client’s situation. Charging Issues, Lack of Effort, Missing Deadlines, and False Promises.
- The attorney is dishonest about fees or overcharges. Getting a fee schedule in writing might help, but a bad attorney may intentionally take much longer to accomplish a task than is necessary. Other examples of dishonesty about fees are hidden costs or failing to mention that most of the work is being done by someone else (such as a legal secretary or paralegal).
- Lack of effort, interest or time spent on the case should raise a red flag. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as taking on too many cases at a time or the lawyer doesn’t feel there is any chance of winning the case and perhaps should not have taken it in the first place.
- Attorney misses deadlines, court dates or appointments. Of course, these things can happen, but when they occur on a regular basis, with no explanation and little regard for it, this may indicate a serious problem and may be an indication that one should restart the search for a lawyer.
- One who makes false promises or guarantees. As good as a case might look, no lawyer can promise that a client will win. There isn’t a way to know for sure how much the claimant will end up recovering in a final settlement or judgment.
- Lack of a license to practice law. Always check into this before hiring a lawyer. Never assume that an advertisement or an office means the person is licensed to practice.
- Asking for references. If the attorney can’t provide references, look elsewhere. By first checking on the experience others have had with the lawyer, it could avoid going into a troubling situation with a bad attorney. When an attorney is unwilling to share references and testimonials from past clients, it may not be a good sign.
- Attorney is difficult to work with. If this is the case, you shouldn’t feel bad about switching representation. If he/she has a terrible attitude, is rude or verbally abusive, this could make working together more stressful than it should be, and may indicate that one should restart the search for a lawyer.
Remember these tips to avoid a bad attorney when going on consultations with attorneys or if suspecting a current lawyer may not be the right fit for the case. Those searching for a lawyer can call Bressman Law at 614-538-1116 or 614-538-1116 to set up a free consultation to discuss their case.