Attorneys are required to do 30 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) every two years. I’m listening to one right now about time management and attorneys and it brings up a great point.
In a nutshell, there are a lot of lawyers who are late. They miss deadlines to email you, to call you, they are late in showing up to court, they don’t keep you informed about what is going on, etc. There is a lawyer rule that requires attorneys to promptly respond to client concerns and these attorneys violate these rules all the time.
According to this CLE, lawyers who are late and have bad time management skills are the number one reason why they get sued or have ethical complaints against them. I get that. It’s like going to a restaurant and not having a waiter show up for 20 minutes to take your order. How much longer would you give them before you complained and/or moved on?
I mention this information because you shouldn’t be expected to automatically know what to look for when hiring a lawyer and what to expect once you’ve made that decision. You deserve to know about red flags.
While a sloppy, lazy attorney who doesn’t communicate with you could do a good job for you, it’s certainly more likely that you won’t be happy or get the best result possible. You might not realize the attorney you hired sucks when you first hire them, but if becomes apparent as the case goes on the only good news is that you have the right to switch firms.
Some lawyers hate their jobs, but keep doing them. Some are just disorganized. Others aren’t self aware. What do all of these have in common? None of them should be your problem.
If you see red flags, get a new firm before a settlement offer is made. If you aren’t sure if something is normal or if your attorney is good you can call us for free and in confidence. If we respect your attorney we will tell you. If we think what you are going through isn’t normal we will tell you. But never assume that this bad behavior is how all lawyers are because that is simply not true.