Beware of these signs that your lawyer may not be the best pick…
Every profession has “bad apples,” and the legal industry is no different. Some lawyers may make weak arguments, ask for a settlement that is too small or may not communicate often enough. Others are simply unprofessional.
Our team at Murphy Law cares about our clients and we’re committed to giving you the best possible outcome for your case. We pride ourselves on being a law firm that our clients can trust.
Unfortunately, not all law firms live by this creed.
A bad lawyer may be difficult to reach. He or she may have odd hours and be unwilling to speak with you at a more convenient time. Even if your lawyer is unable to speak right now, you should at least receive a prompt appointment.
A common situation is when a law firm offers you initial consultation but you do not hear back from them afterward. A professional Montana personal injury lawyer follows up. And if you decide to hire them to represent you, they should invest their time and energy into working on your case.
Some lawyers may be unsure how to proceed with your case because they do not have enough experience with your area of law. Others may be too busy with other cases and cannot give your case the time it deserves. Regardless, you should consider getting an opinion from another attorney.
Unwillingness to give explanations
Other lawyers will avoid their clients because they believe their clients can’t understand what they are being told. If you are trying to find out how to choose a personal injury lawyer, start by looking for an attorney who is willing and able to explain complicated legal ideas in layman’s terms.
Some bad lawyers fail to show up on time for appointments. Others make mistakes with your paperwork by failing to file the paperwork on time, filing the wrong paperwork or filing the paperwork incorrectly. You are paying an attorney because you expect them to file paperwork without making the mistakes that you’d be afraid to make if you filed the paperwork yourself.
Some attorneys also come across as rude, lazy, arrogant or unprofessional. These will not only make your lawyer more difficult to work with but if you get that impression then members of the court — such as judges and juries — will probably pick up on that too, which could harm your case.
Poor decision making
Your attorney should make important decisions only after consulting with you first. While you are relying on the expertise of your attorney, you should have a final say in all decisions made regarding you, your family and your case.
While you should be in full control of your case, the attorney should also be decisive. You should promptly receive a clear plan on how your attorney will fight your case. If you are not sure where your case is going, your attorney may not have the energy necessary to win your legal battle.
Lack of results
All cases have periods where there is a lull. However, there are other situations where you may have a lawyer on retainer and it may drain funds while there is no new information and there are no new court cases planned. If you run low on money, you may struggle to replace the attorney when you have fewer resources to pay for a new one.
The truth is that some attorneys are more expensive than they are worth. There are other attorneys who may surprisingly charge low rates while working hard and actually getting results. Therefore, you shouldn’t assume that the most expensive lawyer will be the best one. Nor should you choose the cheapest attorney you can find. As the saying goes, sometimes you get what you pay for.
Inexperience in the area of practice
While many lawyers specialize in a specific area of law, they may also practice in other areas of law where they have less experience. For instance, a law firm that focuses exclusively on personal injury law may not know how to proceed in a workers’ compensation case because of a lack of experience.
There is nothing that restricts a lawyer licensed to practice in Montana from taking your case even if they do not have experience with a certain type of case. If you’re unsure whether or not the lawyer has handled cases like yours in the past, look on their website and ask them to cite examples of similar cases during the initial consultation.
Lack of compassion and empathy
You should feel like your attorney cares about your case and is empathetic. While the attorney is paid to work on your case, they should also be passionate about your situation and wish to help you in any way they can. You should feel like you’re being treated like a friend and even a family member.
Beware of crooked workers’ comp lawyers. Steer clear of a lawyer who asks you to lie to the courts. When researching a lawyer, you might discover that they have been subjected to disciplinary action by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel in Montana. If you don’t have enough money to verify if the attorney has engaged in unethical behavior, speak with past clients about their experiences.
Some of the worst lawyers lie to their clients. You may be told that your case is going well as a way to encourage you to keep your attorney as a retainer.
If you encounter unethical behavior, report it to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Make sure to provide the lawyer’s full name and any documents you would like them to review. Your lawyer will be provided with a copy of your complaint and will be given an opportunity to respond.