You are entrusting your future to this individual, and the least you can do for yourself is to hire a lawyer who will do their best to champion your cause.
When you need a lawyer, it’s highly likely that you’re going through a difficult time in your life, whether it’s in a divorce, a personal injury lawsuit, or a business-related matter. It’s during these times that you need to feel that you’re in the hands of a capable litigator, especially when your freedom, livelihood, and your honor are at stake. While most lawyers are capable and trustworthy (only about 4% to 17% of lawyers are sued for malpractice), there are a few bad apples that do exist. Here are some red flags that you need to be on the lookout for.
Poor Communication Skills
Lawyers are expected to display a willingness to keep clients updated with their case. Lawyers who are difficult to get a hold of or those who do not respond to your queries are generally a bad sign. Even when lawyers are usually busy, there’s no reason for them to ignore their clients, especially when their office usually has staff who are trained to answer questions or schedule appointments for them.
Vague or Dishonest Billing
While it’s generally accepted that hiring a lawyer is expensive, very few clients are aware of the work that happens out of the courtroom. This is not an excuse to pad hours or to add vague billing details. A respectable lawyer will let you know from the onset the costs you should expect, as well as additional charges that you might incur over the course of your case. Billing must be clear and concise and it must make it known to the client what services they are paying for.
The law has so many variables that it’s almost impossible to determine a definite result from the onset. Any lawyer who claims they can win your case easily shouldn’t be trusted. Even excellent lawyers will only promise what a client can reasonably expect from the case. You need an honest lawyer who isn’t afraid to speak difficult truths.
Poor Peer Reputation
Other lawyers and legal professionals are a good indicator of your lawyer’s standing in the profession, as they may have worked closely with your lawyer in the past. It’s fairly easy to see if other lawyers regard your lawyer with professional courtesy or a disdain. If you find that your lawyer is generally disliked, then you might want to find a lawyer who has a better reputation among his or her peers because this is a major red flag.
Remember that these are professionals who are aware of proper procedure and moral obligations to which a lawyer should adhere. If these people are wary around your lawyer, you should be, too.
The importance of hiring a good lawyer cannot be emphasized enough, especially when they are expensive to hire. You are entrusting your future to this individual, and the least you can do for yourself is to hire a lawyer who will do their best to champion your cause.