The worst thing a lawyer can do is look out for their own interests over that of a client. If an attorney ever settles a case because they need the money or don’t want to do the work needed to get a better result, it’s gross.
I recently heard from a caller who hired an older lawyer at a firm that used to be reputable. Now, most of the lawyers that started this firm are deceased, retired, or in their 70’s. The attorney representing my caller was retiring by the end of 2021 and clearly seemed motivated to settle his cases. My caller had not yet been discharged from medical care and was recovering from a serious knee injury. An FCE was still needed and his attorney was telling him that they should settle the case.
It’s probably at least six months if not longer away from even thinking about ending this one. But since the lawyer appeared to want to wrap up his practice by January 1, he was doing what was best for him and not the client. Not every attorney at this firm is deceased or retired and there are a couple of younger ones left behind. They could have easily taken over the case and gotten it to the finish line.
My best guess is that this caller is the victim of a dirty law firm secret. There are a lot of law firms that present themselves to the public as big partnerships that are all working on their cases together. The reality is that some of these are actually a group of solo practice lawyers who handle their own cases and make money off how they do on their own cases. They share overhead like rent, support staff, etc and will occasionally work on cases together. But in general they are “eat what you kill” which means they make money based on the work they bring in and handle.
So instead of doing the right thing and passing this case off to someone else, this lawyer is headed probably to Florida and hoping to get as many dollars in his pocket before he takes off.
It’s truly deplorable behavior. He probably thinks he has nothing to lose. If the client makes an ethical violation complaint against him, what does he care? He’s retiring anyway. People that act like this don’t have the conscience to think about how they are screwing someone over.
The bottom line for you as a reader is a few things:
1. Beware hiring really old attorneys. It’s not that they aren’t competent; they might be. It’s more of a concern that they are checked out, part-time, possibly retiring, etc.
2. If you think you are hiring a bigger firm, clarify that they are actual partners and that if something happens to one of them, the others will be there to pick up the pieces. This problem is more common for firms that do malpractice, divorce and personal injury as compared to work comp, but it’s out there.
3. Whatever you do, don’t consider settling your case until your medical care is done. Once you do, you close out your medical rights forever. So if you need more treatment you’ll be on your own.
We will talk to anyone for free and in confidence. We’ll gladly tell you if we think your lawyer is doing a good job or if there are red flags like there were here. If you want a consultation, fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5578. We help with cases all throughout Illinois.