I just don’t get some lawyers. It’s usually the older ones who do the dumbest things, and that is exactly what happened to a recent caller to my office.

She had a major injury which requires back surgery. She hired a lawyer who has over 40 years of experience and a reputation as a crotchety asshole. I get the sense he doesn’t like being a lawyer anymore so sadly it appears that he takes out his frustrations on his clients.

Her benefits got cut off after an independent medical exam (IME) said she the surgery she needs isn’t related to her job. She had a question about that and what she should do, so she called up her lawyer after she got a letter from him that was explaining what was happening with the case.

For whatever reason, he was set off by her asking for a clarification of something she didn’t understand from the letter. He proceeded to scream at her and said, “Maybe you should get a new lawyer if I don’t explain things well enough for you!”

Now mind you, she said that she hadn’t spoken to him in months so it’s not like she’s a nagging client. And even if she is, of course she has a right as the client to ask any question that she has. That’s of course why you hire a lawyer, to have an advocate for you and someone who is supposed to know about Illinois work comp laws to be there as a resource.

He apparently couldn’t be bothered or was having a really bad day. And it’s kind of crazy. Based on what I know/heard, this case could be worth around $150,000-$250,000 which is pretty big for work comp. It’s a really decent fee that the lawyer seems willing to throw away.

Now none of us are perfect and there are times where everyone doesn’t feel like talking. But this is the job he signed up for. Sometimes you have to just grit your teeth and fake it until you make it.

Given that I’ve heard a lot of similar stories about this lawyer and that he’s been in trouble with the State for ethical misconduct, it didn’t surprise me to get this call. As the caller was downstate, my advice was to tell her to get a new lawyer before a settlement offer was made. The call to do that came down to me asking if she’d have faith in this lawyer if the case went to trial and she said, “Unfortunately, I would not.”

When you get to that point, it’s really the point of no return and you have to switch firms. But really, the moment you are disrespected by your lawyer should tell you all you need to know to make a decision.