A guy called my office looking for a new attorney.  He was injured downstate so I referred him to a lawyer in our state wide network which of course is what our service is.  It’s a pretty serious injury and I’m confident that this new lawyer will be able to help him.

He wanted a new lawyer because his attorney hadn’t returned his phone calls.  Although he has a serious neck injury and RSD along with a doctor who relates all of the problems he has to a work injury, the insurance company is not approving his medical care.  I looked in to the case a bit and noticed that his lawyer had filed two petitions for immediate hearing (which is the right thing to do) and then withdrew them.  The last one was almost six months ago so there has been plenty of time to get this case ready for trial.  That didn’t happen so smartly, the injured worker wants new representation.

Upon talking to this caller he told me that he thinks his lawyer is too busy.  I agreed, but then he volunteered that the lawyer told him that he has 800 cases.  800!

Most good lawyers I know take on somewhere between 200-300 cases.  That sounds like a lot, but for Illinois workers’ compensation it’s a pretty manageable number if you are organized and have a good staff. Once you get close to 300 you probably need to hire another lawyer to help you with the volume.  I can’t even imagine trying to remember the names of 800 clients all at once along with their unique case issues, family members and health problems.

What’s crazy to me is that the attorney told the injured worker that he has 800 cases and he viewed it as a badge of honor.  E.g., I’m so great that I have this many clients.  He apparently didn’t think anyone would question how he has time to help all of those people or know their cases and maybe he’s right because he allegedly has that many cases.

Or maybe he doesn’t deal with the fallout until he can’t actually help these people who are counting on him and then he loses them as clients.  It doesn’t cost anything to switch lawyers, but if he does enough work he can ask the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission to make the new attorney split part of their 20% fee with him.

To his credit, while I know of this lawyer, he is not one of those who I regularly hear complaints about.  So perhaps he was just in over his head with what is a more complex medical case than most Illinois work injuries.

Whatever the situation, it’s a good idea to ask your lawyer how many cases they have before you sign with them.  You should also ask how big their support staff is and who will handle your concerns if your lawyer is unavailable due to vacation, illness, being on trial or any other reason.

And as always, if you have questions about a case or are looking for a lawyer, fill out our contact form to the right or call us at (312) 346-5578 to speak with one of our lawyers.