I’ve been an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney since 1997. When I started, my first boss warned me about the attorneys to look out for because he felt they were shady. This was part of my training. He also let me know who he thinks are the top lawyers that he respects. That’s good information to know because it can affect how you negotiate a case.
Many of those “top” attorneys are still practicing law some 22 plus years later. I’ve gotten to know most of them. Some weren’t as great as my old boss thought. Some are real superstars that if you tell me you hired them, I’d tell you that you made a good decision.
There are some though, that for whatever reason, don’t give a shit about their clients anymore and have lost their work ethic. There is one very well known and regarded work comp attorney in Chicago who fits this description. In the last few months, I’ve heard from at least ten of his clients, and it’s always the same story. They feel he doesn’t communicate and won’t fight for him.
Now, this is someone who has been a real leader in the industry and has tried a ton of cases. He has a track record of some pretty amazing results. So why the change?
I can’t say for sure, but in general there are a lot of things I’ve seen make attorneys lose interest over the years. This can include:
- Getting sick.
- Losing a loved one or seeing friends pass away.
- Having enough money that they don’t need to work.
- Seeing other people not working as much as they used to. You don’t want to turn down golf invites over and over.
- Believing that clients will still hire you based on reputation.
- Arrogance that their way is the only way based on their belief they are successful.
- Not wanting to work any more, but not wanting to be at home with their spouse.
There are other reasons too. This one particular attorney is over 60 and has been a lawyer for almost 40 years. Some guys that age just love it and want to grind. Others feel like they’ve put in their time and don’t look at your case as being nearly as important as it is to you.
So what do you do if you hired a lawyer that you heard was great, but they aren’t doing a good job?
1. Talk to them about it. If you have concerns about how they communicate, call them on it. Maybe they don’t realize it or have an explanation. Or maybe that’s just who they are now.
2. If you aren’t too far along in your case, talk to a new attorney about switching. Too far along is usually, but not always, when there has been a settlement offer made.
Being perfectly honest, there are some attorneys who it’s hard to find someone good to take over from them. That’s because of their presence at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. So my advice is not to fire them before you have someone good in place. Beware attorneys who only dabble in work comp.
I do know good attorneys who will consider taking over from other firms. If you want a recommendation or just want to chat about a case, please contact us at any time.