7 Signs That Your Lawyer Is Selling You Out
Lawyers help their clients handle all manner of legal disputes and issues. They also guide them to make informed and appropriate decisions. Sadly, some of these professionals sell their clients out by providing them with substandard legal services and communication practices that leave a lot to be desired.
If your lawyer is selling you out then they frequently misses the deadlines and appointments for your case. Also, they are likely engaging in one or more of the following behaviors. If so, it may be time to find a new attorney.
How Can You Tell If Your Lawyer Is Selling You Out?
1. They Regularly Miss Deadlines and Appointments
Deadlines and appointments are important in legal matters. Failing to meet time requirements or show up for appointments can result in a dismissal of your case in some instances.
Regardless of the reasons your attorney might give, failing to meet deadlines and show up for appointments is unacceptable for an attorney due to the potential consequences for clients.
According to the American Bar Association, over 8% of all legal malpractice cases involve a lawyer’s failure to submit the required documents in a case. When behavior like this occurs, it is clear evidence that the attorney is selling you out and that you should look for representation elsewhere.
2. They Show a Lack of Interest in Your Case
Is your lawyer seemingly disinterested in your case? You can tell if they are by the way they treat you and speak about your case. A lawyer who lacks an appropriate interest will engage in certain types of behavior that demonstrate their disinterest, such as:
- Cutting you off or cutting your session short
- Failing to listen to details or information you feel to be pertinent
- Rushing you to get other clients in or attend to other business
- Failing to return your calls or address your questions and concerns
- Forgetting important aspects of your case
If you notice an apparent lack of interest in your case on the part of your attorney, they are probably selling you out. They are most likely providing you with as little quality legal work as possible. In other words, they are doing the bare minimum and should be replaced.
3. They Are Pushing You Too Quickly or Forcefully to Settle
Lawyers in personal injury cases often negotiate settlements for their clients. They can spend days or weeks going back and forth with insurance adjusters for a proper payout. However, it is you, the client, who decides whether to accept a settlement offer. Whatever you decide, your attorney must honor your decision.
Some attorneys don’t agree with their clients’ decisions. So they try to do something about it, such as pressuring their clients. For example, if an attorney believes a settlement offer to be appropriate, but their client does not, the attorney might pressure the client relentlessly to accept the offer instead of holding out for more.
Regardless of whether the client’s decision is a good one, however, the lawyer must act according to the client’s wishes. They should not engage in coercive tactics designed to pressure a client into changing their mind.
4. They Fail to Return or Answer Your Calls
Failing to return or answer a client’s calls is one of the most disrespectful things an attorney can do. For this reason, if you are experiencing this type of behavior from your attorney, it is likely that they are selling you out.
When an attorney fails to communicate with you properly on a regular basis, it is safe to say that they are selling you out to some extent as well as violating certain ethical rules for lawyers.
For example, Rule 1.4 of the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct explains how lawyers are to maintain communication with their clients. Unreturned phone calls do not figure in these instructions and should be taken as a sign that it is time to move on.
5. They’re not Transparent in Billing and Payment Practices
Lack of transparency when it comes to billing and payments is a problem that should not go unaddressed. Sadly, it is one of the major concerns that clients have when it comes to hiring lawyers.
Many potential clients fear complicated and tricky billing practices that push hidden charges and upsells. The media and popular conceptions of attorneys as money-focused professionals don’t help.
However, the true advocate would never do anything to take advantage of their client’s lack of knowledge. Instead, they do what it takes to make sure that their clients understand the billing process before entering into a professional relationship. A true advocate will also make sure to clear up any billing confusion their client might have along the way.
For the client, honesty and transparency in billing and payments from the beginning inspire trust, which is necessary in any attorney-client relationship. The client needs to trust their lawyer from the get-go. Nothing can help foster this trust more than open and honest billing and payment communication from the start of the relationship.
6. They Have a Lack of Courtroom Confidence
Lawyers must exude confidence when in the courtroom or risk losing whatever battle they may be involved in at the time. If you are being represented by a lawyer who lacks confidence in the courtroom, they may be selling you out. Instead of taking your case, the attorney probably should have referred it to a more experienced attorney.
Sadly, some attorneys bite off more than they can chew and wind up taking cases outside of their wheelhouse. Often, they do this for financial reasons. More clients typically means more money. However, lawyers who can’t effectively represent their clients before a judge and/or a jury should hand them off to more competent lawyers.
To avoid this issue, it helps to review the courtroom experience of the lawyers you are considering hiring. Those without extensive experience arguing for clients before juries may not be best qualified to represent you, whereas an attorney with multiple verdicts in favor of their clients would be.
7. They Ignore Your Questions
Clients rely on their attorney not only for representation but also for the answers to their questions. The law is complex, and attorneys study for years to grasp difficult legal concepts. No client can fully understand what is transpiring around them without answers from their lawyer.
However, some lawyers brush off their client’s questions as if they are not important. Or they feign interest but fail to get back to their client with the information they are looking for. When this type of behavior takes place, it causes the client to lose trust in their attorney and sometimes in the legal process as well.
Attorneys who ignore their client’s questions and concerns are no longer serving them as they should. Instead, clients in this situation feel as though they are bothersome or intruders — this should never be the case in the attorney-client relationship.
In fact, attorneys should do whatever it takes to answer their clients’ questions whenever they come up and in a way that does not cause the client to feel like a bother.
Finding the Right Lawyer
As with any profession, the legal field has its share of questionable professionals. Fortunately, there are many fine attorneys out there. Finding the right one involves:
- Asking for recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues
- Reading reviews from former clients
- Reviewing each potential attorney’s record of winning settlements and verdicts
- Reviewing each attorney’s accomplishments and awards in the legal community
- Meeting with each attorney to gauge their level of respect and competency
Always remember: You as the client are the most important piece of the puzzle.
Trust The Joel Bieber Firm to Fight for You!
The Joel Bieber Firm has a reputation as a trustworthy firm that cares. If you need legal representation for matters relating to personal injuries and injuries sustained at work, give our office a call for a free consultation. You can rely on us!