There are many articles about how to choose the right attorney, but how can you tell if you have the wrong one? If you think you might have a bad attorney, you can always switch to a new one at no additional cost to you. We have compiled the below list of 8 factors you can use to evaluate whether you have a bad attorney.
- Lack of Communication
Attorneys are some of the busiest people of any profession in the country; however, good attorneys are responsive. They may not be able to field every call as it comes in, but a good rule of thumb is they should always be able to get back to you the same day that you contacted them. At the very least, they should have the proper organization behind them to enable someone on their staff to respond to you.
If you are having trouble getting in touch with your attorney, you may have a bad lawyer.
- A Complicated and/or Deceptive Fee Structure
The vast majority of Plaintiff Attorneys will provide a free consultation to review your claim and decide whether they are the right fit for you. Every attorney who is worth signing with should have no issue not only explaining their fee structure to you during this consultation, but they should also set their entire fee structure out in writing. If your attorney did not, or worse, would not do this, that is serious cause for concern.
Specifically, some issues we recommend keeping an eye out for are fees that increase without anything being done on your claim. Some attorneys will have their fees increase simply because a certain period of time has passed since you signed with them, regardless of what your experience has been like or whether they have done any real work for you.
Put simply, if your attorney’s fee structure is needlessly complicated, you may have a bad lawyer.
- Exorbitant “Administrative” Costs
The entire purpose of representing plaintiffs is to try to help them obtain justice from insurance companies, which are faceless, corporate giants that have mastered turning plaintiffs and their lives into numbers so as to maximize their profits. Some attorneys have forgotten the calling of their profession and operate like insurance companies, sneaking exorbitant flat costs into their contracts.
Be sure to check your contract and compare it with that of several other attorneys. We have heard of firms trying to pitch these costs to clients as a benefit to them. Just remember, if your attorney is willing to charge you exorbitant costs, how can you trust them to have your best interests in mind when your case gets difficult?
If your attorney is charging you exorbitant administrative costs, you may have a bad lawyer.
- Lack of Qualifications
There are myriad aspects to evaluating whether an attorney is qualified to represent you. One of the most obvious is to look at what schools they attended. Did they attend a well-respected law school? What about their undergraduate university? While some great lawyers went to smaller schools, they are the exception to the rule. The selection process to get into top law schools is rigorous and reveals not only basic competency but also discipline.
You can also evaluate attorneys by looking at which organizations they belong to and the awards they have received for their accomplishments. Do they seem active in their legal community, or do they spend the bulk of their time merely advertising?
If your attorney lacks qualifications, you may have a bad lawyer.
There are very strict rules governing what attorneys can disclose concerning information they learn in the scope of an attorney-client relationship, and the reason for that is simple. Our system is reliant on a strong level of trust between clients and their attorneys.
Did your attorney make representations to you about how your case would be handled and then fail to deliver? This could range from a promised net recovery in order to coerce you to settle, a guaranteed timeframe in which your claim would resolve, or any number of promises that may have been broken. Oftentimes you will come across this issue when dealing with the sales wing of a law firm, typically referred to as “Intake” as they try to sign your case. A good attorney will only give sound advice and estimates as to what may happen with your case. Guarantees are a sign of desperation and should be avoided.
If your attorney has been dishonest with you, you may have a bad lawyer.
An attorney’s office is a professional organization, and as such should be equipped to handle all matters professionally. This does not only extend to the attorney. If your attorney’s support staff is rude, that is a sign of a poor culture in his or her office and reflects directly on the attorney. If an attorney is tolerant of a poor culture, or even fosters it, it is likely that attorney tolerates subpar work product as well. Many claims take years to fully resolve, during which you will be corresponding with the attorney and his or her staff countless times. There is no reason your attorney’s office should make one of the most stressful periods of your life more stressful by being rude or unprofessional. They should be equipped to handle you and your problems. That is, after all, what they are there for.
If your attorney or his or her staff is unprofessional, you may have a bad lawyer.
- Lack of Results
Good attorneys get good results. An attorney with many high value outcomes tends to have them because they are better at maximizing the value of their cases and maintaining their clients’ trust than an attorney with less of them. While large settlements and verdicts are eye-catching, there is more to evaluating the work product of an attorney than simply counting how many seven or eight figure cases they have handled. Ask them about a case they particularly liked working on and why. An attorney who cannot give a compelling answer to that question might not be a great fit, even if they have had great results in the past.
Another result to evaluate an attorney with is their personal reviews. This is addressed below in its own section (because it is that important). But it is addressed here as well, as the extent to which an attorney is providing quality service to his or her clients over time will largely be reflected in their reviews. An attorney with great outcomes and reviews is what you should be looking for if you want the best possible outcome for your claim.
If your attorney does not have good case results and reviews, you may have a bad lawyer.
- Bad Reviews
If you think you as a consumer do not have a voice in the world think again. A negative review can severely damage a business, especially a law firm. Every firm is going to have its share of criticism online. It’s the nature of the world we live in, but beware of firms that have a disproportionate amount of negative feedback.
If you have signed with a large law firm, it is likely your case has been assigned to an associate attorney who you have never heard of. Be sure to check their individual reviews, as the quality of service given to clients can vary widely even within the same firm. A firm may have quality reviews online, but does the attorney who will be handling your case?
If your attorney has bad reviews, you may have a bad lawyer.
Concerned You May Have a Bad Lawyer? Call Younglove Law Group at (844) 810-1800 for a 100% free consultation!