There’s a Chicago workers’ compensation law firm that over the last ten or so years has handled thousands of cases. They do a lot of advertising, but I don’t usually hear the same complaints about this firm as I do about some of the other firms that do whatever they can to sign up more cases than they can handle. And they were never like some of the other terrible firms where they were churning through frustrated staff and attorney employees who would quit due to lack of training and other shenanigans.

Sometime in the last six months or so the main partners appear to have had some sort of falling out. One of the name partners, who has a reputation as the best of the attorneys, left the firm. Since that time we’ve been getting 1-2 calls a week from their unhappy clients. They are telling us things like they can’t get a return phone call, nobody answers their questions, nothing is happening on their case, etc.

I saw that one of their associates has now also left and I was told that the firm itself may dissolve. It appears that they may not currently have enough good attorneys to handle the case volume. Again to be clear this is second hand news and I’m not mentioning any names because that’s not the point of this post.

The point is that this type of thing happens a few times a year. Maybe not as much with a firm that from the outside appeared to be successful, but it’s also not the first time we’ve seen that too. So the question is, what should you as a client do if the firm you hired appears to be falling apart?

The answer really depends on the case itself. The recent caller to our office was only injured a couple of months ago and was getting paid incorrectly with no action done to solve the problem. They couldn’t get a return phone call from any attorney due to the apparent chaos. That was an easy one to advise. It was clear they needed a new lawyer.

Other clients of theirs are likely happy with their attorney. In that case you should probably stick with them. That said I’d have a discussion about the direction your handling attorney will be going. Are they joining a new firm? How many cases do they now have? If things are going well I’d stick with them, but pay attention to see if their service slips.

If your case has gone to trial, there’s a big settlement offer, or is really old, you are probably stuck with them. Hopefully you don’t get screwed over in the process.

Some of the injured workers they are representing might fall somewhere in between all of these examples. You don’t want to go down with the ship, but aren’t sure what to do. In those cases I’d suggest you have a second opinion consult with an experienced firm to see what makes sense. An honest lawyer won’t tell you to switch just because, but rather will help you figure out what makes sense. It costs nothing to switch, but a good lawyer will not tell you to switch if they don’t think it’s the right thing for you.

If you’d like a free consultation because you have concerns about your lawyer or any other reason, call us in confidence at 312-346-5578.