How can you tell between a bad, incompetent Attorney form a good attorney? In this article, I am going to discuss Signs of a Bad Attorney: 12 Signs YourLawyer is a Legal Liability and why you should fire him.
The fact that you need a lawyer in the first place – is a sure sign that you are already stressed about one legal problem or another and are dreading over traversing in the legal quagmire.
It’s an unavoidable situation, but none of us are ever prepared for the anxiety, the emotional and the financial toll that it takes on one.
A lawyer can make or break a case for you; they are won or lost based on the competency of your attorney.
No matter which high profile agency you hire or which pro-bono lawyer has been assigned to you; your fate, loosely implicating – is in their hands. Their skills and ethics will determine that whether getting the cheapest attorney was the most expensive purchase of your life or the big firm was worth every penny (could be vice versa too).
Here, you will learn 12 Signs of a Bad Attorney.
These signs will help you identify whether the lawyer you hired is a legal liability – a bad attorney or you are the lucky ones to have avoided them.
1. Reviews & References
Do not believe everything on the internet these days; well there is always an exception to the rule.
Reviews are an easy way that can save you from a lot of pain later on. Spare some time and stalk your attorney and profile his online repute.
If you get even a whiff of a bad review – steer clear; there are always other lawyers to work with than the one with a questionable reputation.
Also, the lawyers who avoid your request to provide any previous references of a client worked with, are some shady ones
2. Bad Communication
When hiring an attorney and handing over your case – determine how a communication channel will be established among yourself – whether it would be social media or formals calls and email.
This is important, in order to avoid frustration, panic, and mistakes that can undermine your case, you should be able to contact your attorney, their staff or their agency at all times.
Little or no communication or even inconsistent communication is a sign that you are stuck with a bad attorney.
Unreturned phone calls or unanswered emails suggest that your attorney is either stressed from your case, overwhelmed with other cases or just does not prioritize yours enough – and either one of these scenarios spells out trouble for you.
3. Unprofessional Conduct
Missing important deadlines, showing up late to meetings, filling the wrong or incomplete paperwork, making important decisions without your consultation – its high time that you call your lawyer out on their irresponsible, unprofessional attitude and give them the final notice.
They are not worth your time and effort and certainly not your hard-earned money.
4. Courthouse Presence
Is your attorney respected by their peers, in and out of the courthouse? It is necessary that your lawyer has the personality that given certain circumstances, they can command the respect of fellow lawyers, the judge, and the juror.
An attorney who is unable to engage with their fellows or staff is going to have a hard time swaying the court against another attorney.
If you are getting bad or weird vibes to form you, lawyer – chances are that the judge and jurors will too
5. Billing Practices
Avoid being frugal and on the other end also beware of the bad attorneys that are out to “bleed you dry” – in short, be careful and be thorough.
Review all bills and statements that you receive from your lawyer. Watch out for any hidden expenses not agreed on beforehand. If you are unsure about the billing – do not be afraid to ask some questions.
Your legal bill should include the details of the tasks performed and how long (to avoid overbilling) and adding a surcharge on legal expenses (posting, copying) is unethical and inappropriate.
6. Lack Of Empathy Or Calmness
Your lawyer’s job is to listen to you, sympathize with you and give you the best advice possible.
It is not ethical for your attorney to judge you, condescend you or demotivate you.
If your lawyer cannot remain calm and unbiased in your case or on the other hand they do not display an ounce of compassion – then for the sake of your emotional state, look for another attorney
7. Lack Of Understanding Of Your Case
Cases are built on facts, evidence and most importantly on emotion. If the lawyer cannot understand the fundamentals of your case then they are incapable of presenting it a way that will optimize your cause in eyes of the judge and the jurors – abandon this sinking ship before things spiral out of hand.
8. Lack Of Decisiveness And Back-Up Plans
Your lawyer should always have an answer for your questions and apprehensions and the next many steps in your case should all be planned out and ready to execute, with backups to fall back on.
Frankly speaking, if your attorney is not battle-ready – then they are a bad bunch. Their lack of action and indecisiveness will pull you down along too.
9. Making Excuses
Does your attorney always have an excuse ready for you? Dodging your phone calls? Giving vague progress details? Then please do not assume that they are busy.
This is a classic sign of a legal liability that is handicapping your case and is being paid for doing nothing.
10. No Contingency Plan
In a contingent fee arrangement, a lawyer agrees to accept a fixed percentage of the recovery fee (the full amount settled on the client) in case of a favorable result.
In usual practices that is one-third of the amount. If the attorney you have selected does not work with a contingency plan – they are rogue, find another one.
11. Running Late, No Progress And Handling Too Many Cases
Running late might be acceptable a few times, usually, the lawyers are on call with the respective court system and their clients; so there is no need to get panicked.
But if this is not the case, well then it is a sure sign that your attorney is overwhelmed with other cases. They may be juggling too many cases at one time, and while this is not illegal or anything, it is unethical.
You pay money for a service and you deserve your lawyer’s full dedication. With your attorneys, attention roaming in so many different directions; chance is that they make a debilitating legal mistake in your case.
12. Office Ambiance And Staff Attitude
Snuff out a bad attorney by the state of their office and their interactions with the staff.
Lack of personnel or unhappy/unhelpful staff along with an unkempt or empty office are big red flags all over the place that are telling you to make a run for it. Pay heed to them.
Now that you are aware, avoid extending your despair by putting up with the melodramatic liabilities of your attorney.
It will only be a burden on your time, your sensibilities, your pocket, and your case. The lawyer’s shortcomings are not your fault so none, either it’s you or the legal system should have to pay for them.
A bad attorney is a legal liability – avoid them like a plague.
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