Whether you have a lawyer for a civil case or a criminal case, you deserve the best your money can get you. But sometimes, the lawyer you’re paying may not be worth the money you’re spending. Here are 5 signs you should start looking for a new lawyer.
Never Remembers You
If you have to remind your lawyer who you are each time you stop by or call, that should raise a red flag for you. Lawyers who can’t even remember their clients’ names are typically overworked. It’s not too much for you to expect your lawyer to remember your name and what type of case yours is—whether it’s a personal injury from being rear-ended in a fender-bender or from slipping on the ice.
Now, if you’re expecting your lawyer to remember that you hurt your neck or broke your leg, you might be expecting too much. But if he can’t remember the bare basics about you and the case, something is wrong, and you need to figure out what. If he can’t put the time into your case that it deserves because he’s spread too thin, you need to find a different lawyer.
Inexperienced and Incompetent
You might have a brand-spanking-new lawyer, straight from law school and passing the BAR exam. This type of inexperience isn’t necessarily bad. Every lawyer has to start somewhere to get the experience needed to improve; however, you want (and deserve) a competent lawyer who knows what they’re doing, and if your lawyer isn’t getting the advice and help necessary to do your case justice, find someone else who can.
Unexplained Charges on Bill
Some lawyers pad bills with miscellaneous charges, trying to get a little extra money out of their clients. They might try charging you for more hours than they actually spent working on your case, or any number of other things. This tactic is blatantly unethical, but some lawyers don’t worry about the ethics of such antics.
You can avoid being taken advantage of by checking each of your bills and knowing what you’re paying for. Know the work that’s been done on your case and approximately how many hours that work took. If you ever see any charges on your bill that you don’t understand, ask your lawyer to explain them. If he can’t explain, hedges around the answer, or avoids the topic entirely, it’s time to find someone else.
Difficult to Understand
Sometimes, it seems like lawyers speak an entirely different language than other people. In fact, it has a name: legalese. However, despite how fluent your lawyer is in legalese, they still need to be able to speak a language you can understand. You’ve hired them as your legal counsel, and that means they need to provide you with counsel. They can’t do that if they’re using words you don’t understand. If your lawyer isn’t making an effort to speak so you can understand, you need to find legal counsel who will.
Lack of Communication
The biggest sign that you need to find a new lawyer is if you’re having trouble getting in touch with them. It’s one thing if your lawyer doesn’t have time to return a phone call between court times and other meetings, but if they can’t even respond to an email with a quick update on how your case is going, after you’ve emailed five times in the last two months, that’s something else entirely. You deserve to know how your case is going, and your lawyer should be keeping you in the loop about those details. If he’s not, it’s time for you to find someone who will.
Not every lawyer is created equal, and you deserve the best. By using these tips, you can know when to drop your current lawyer and find one that suits you, whether your case is criminal or personal injury. Lawyers from Ottawa to Albuquerque are here for you, working for all kinds of firms, like Ontario Injured. Don’t waste your money on a sub-par lawyer; get the best counsel you can find.