Six Telltale Signs You’ve Hired a Bad Lawyer and How You Can Avoid Doing So in the Future
Paul Brannon | April 22, 2022 | Personal Injury
Hiring a lawyer can be stressful and overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before. It’s also one of the most important choices you make in life. Any time legal services are needed, the outcome can significantly impact your finances and your record.
Here are the top six telltale signs you’ve hired a bad lawyer and how you can avoid doing so going forward.
1. Communication Issues
Communication with your lawyer should be easy and hassle-free. Unanswered emails and unreturned phone calls are bad signs. A lack of communication from your lawyer can indicate that your case isn’t receiving the attention it deserves.
A lawyer is a professional whose services you have chosen and paid for. A good lawyer proactively communicates with clients and makes the time to answer questions and return calls.
2. Confusing Billing
Paying for legal fees can be complex. What complicates matters more are the different types of payment agreements: hourly, retainer, flat fee, or contingency. However, what all payment agreements have in common is that they shouldn’t be confusing.
As a client, you should know what you’ve paid for and how much it costs. Unexpected costs or confusing line items are a red flag. When you receive a legal bill or invoice, you should clearly understand what it’s for. Any questions you have about costs or billing should be answered promptly and clearly.
3. Dismissive Behavior
A good lawyer shows empathy and attention to clients. Legal issues are often stressful and confusing. If your lawyer is dismissive of questions or concerns without taking the time to explain and put you at ease, it’s a bad sign.
When you pay for legal services, it’s right to expect that your attorney shows compassion for your situation, takes the time to alleviate fears and communicates with courtesy.
4. Lack of Ethics
Your lawyer should never engage in illegal or unethical behavior. For a lawyer, ethics extends to all areas of how they conduct business with clients.
If your lawyer misses deadlines or makes important decisions without consulting you first, it’s a bad sign. Your attorney should respect your rights and show professional conduct.
This also goes for illegal behavior. Your lawyer should never bend or break the law, and they should never ask you to do so, either.
5. Bad Reputation
Your lawyer’s reputation speaks for them. It’s a good sign if your attorney is greeted with respect by colleagues like judges and other lawyers.
Past client reviews are a great way to get a sense of an attorney’s conduct. Reviews can show you whether a lawyer habitually produces desirable outcomes. If there are issues with communication, empathy, or ethics, there’s a good chance reviews will bring these up as well.
It’s a bad sign if your lawyer is uncertain about how to proceed with your case. A lawyer should clearly understand the laws and the best way to proceed.
An attorney should be able to explain your options, advise you on the best course of action, and explain the risks and benefits of each choice. If your attorney doesn’t appear to have a strategy, they probably don’t know how to help you achieve your end goal.
Better Late than Never
If you’re dealing with one or several of the above factors, you may have hired a bad lawyer. It can be a hassle to change lawyers in the middle of legal proceedings, but it’s usually worth it. When dealing with a car accident or a wrongful death case, the outcome can bring serious, long-term financial consequences. Making the switch from a bad lawyer to a good one can make the difference in how your legal proceedings are resolved.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Northwest Florida
We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547