Usually, when someone calls our office and doesn’t like their Illinois workers compensation attorney, it’s a firm we know of and have seen in action. The majority of firms that people don’t like do a terrible job on their cases in our opinion. And that is why their clients get unhappy and look around for another attorney.
There is one lawyer though who is a big part of a historically good firm and he is very respected by attorneys and Judges alike. He’s very smart and definitely knows his stuff. Yet over the last two years, I’ve probably have 15 calls from his clients who all have said the same type of thing. They said he’s rude, short with them, impatient, doesn’t explain things, etc. Basically they all feel he isn’t giving good service or being respectful to them. You shouldn’t feel that way as a client.
I was talking to another attorney who knows this guy well and asked if it was Covid that had some how changed this attorney that I used to respect a lot. The more I thought about it though, I realized I’ve been hearing bad things since 2019 so that couldn’t be it. My lawyer friend told me that this attorney is so smart that he just has lost patience for people who can’t understand things that are simple to him.
I get what my friend was trying to say and he certainly wasn’t trying to excuse this lawyer, but rather explain it away. Whatever your take on it, if you are an attorney who thinks they are so smart that you can’t take a couple of minutes to explain things to your clients, it might be time to hang things up and retire. It’s literally the job of every attorney to be able to explain what is happening with a case and what the client’s options are.
If the client doesn’t get it, that doesn’t mean you are so smart and understand something that they never could. It actually means that you aren’t smart enough to explain things in a plain English way that makes sense. It’s a skill and while it requires some patience at times, it’s what the job is.
Nobody is perfect at it, but when that many clients are not happy with you, it’s time to look in the mirror. It’s kind of sad to me because this is someone I looked up to. But the reality is that just because someone was a great attorney 10-20 years ago does not mean that they are good at their job now.