There isn’t much worse in the legal field than an older, disgruntled attorney who hates his life and job and is only still working as an attorney because he (usually) or she doesn’t know how to do anything else or at least can’t make much money doing anything else.
So these lawyers take on clients that they really don’t care about and do a crap job for them. To be fair, there are younger lawyers with this problem too, but the majority of the younger ones that don’t return calls, answer questions or fight for their clients are typically disorganized or guilty of taking on too many cases. The older ones have usually just checked out and would retire if they could afford it or didn’t hate their home life.
I got a call recently from a woman who had hired a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney that fits this stereotype to a tee. She had a major back injury with a recommendation for a fusion. The insurance company was balking at paying for the surgery and instead only wanted to approve a laminectomy. They also said that if the petitioner wanted, she could just settle her case right then and there for $50,000.00.
I think this offer was made because the lawyer has a reputation of not giving a crap about his clients. Sure enough, he told the caller that she should take the money. That would be, in my opinion, legal malpractice as this case is no where near being ready to settle.
The client was smart enough to say no and then asked the lawyer why he won’t get her case in to court to make them pay for the surgery she needs. She’s not an impatient person and has been living in agony for almost six months waiting for her lawyer to do something.
When she finally pressed him on it he said, "You don’t like how I’m handling the case? So fire me." Basically, screw you, I don’t care about your case.
The lawyer knows that even if he gets fired, some day he’ll get $10,000.00 because the 50 grand offer was made under his watch. To him, getting fired is better than having to actually do his job.
It’s pathetic, but it happens. I don’t know how lawyers like this sleep at night. It’s probably the same way guys that cheat on their wives or beat their girlfriends rationalize their actions somehow. Or maybe they just don’t have a conscience.
For you, if you don’t get the service that you deserve, don’t wait until it’s too late. Politely confront your attorney with your concerns. If they don’t address them or give a good answer (and these cases are hard or these cases takes years is not an answer) then you should look elsewhere for help.