If you ever find yourself in a legal dilemma, one of the first things that you have to do is to consult with a lawyer. A competent and experienced lawyer will be there not just to guide you through the complexities of the legal process, but to offer reassurance that your rights and interests will be protected.
However, not all lawyers are the perfect fit. Some of them do not have your best interests in mind, while others will try to take advantage of the situation. Recognizing the red flags early on is the key to avoiding a lot of stress and heartache. Even when your case involves something as simple as filing a claim as a passenger, you need to be certain that your lawyer is above reproach.
Here are the 5 telltale signs that you have chosen a bad lawyer:
1. Bad Reputation
A lawyer’s reputation is earned through his professional ability, communication skills, and success rate. Before you hire a lawyer, make sure that you avoid those with a bad reputation because they can be damaging for your case. Below are some indicators that a lawyer has a bad reputation:
- He has an overwhelming number of negative feedback on his website and other trusted review sites.
- He has a pending complaint or a history of disciplinary action with the state or local bar association.
- He has a low peer review rating, which is the average rating given by other lawyers based on various criteria such as legal ability and ethical standards.
2. Being Indecisive
The lawyer you choose should have a concrete plan of action to help you win your case. For instance, if you are involved in a personal injury case, they should have a clear and definite step-by-step process that includes gathering evidence, obtaining medical documentation, calculating damages, filing a claim with the insurance company, and many others.
If your lawyer does not have any plan, this is a big red flag. Every time you speak with your lawyer, he should be able to provide you with updates on what he has been doing since you last talked to him. He should also offer information about his next steps.
Meeting deadlines is one of the first steps to ensure that your case will go smoothly. If your lawyer can’t even comply with a simple requirement like a due date, you should stay far away. When your lawyer fails to meet deadlines for things like filing an application or a response, it can be very damaging to your case.
More importantly, there are some situations that require acting quickly. For instance, if you have been involved in a car accident, whether as a passenger or as a driver, your lawyer needs to act immediately to gather evidence and witness statements. Any delay will seriously impair the compensation you will be able to receive.
4. Personality Conflict
Your lawyer’s job is to listen to you and provide advice on the right course of action for your case. He should be respectful and professional at all times. If you find him to be condescending, rude, or dismissive of your concerns, it’s probably time to choose a new lawyer.
A great attorney-client relationship is just as important as the lawyer’s credentials and skills in winning your case. Remember that you are going to a legal war and you need a partner who understands you and will support you throughout the process. Your lawyer should be calm, rational, and objective when providing the legal assistance you need.
5. Vague or Excessive Billing
One of the most obvious red flags when consulting with a lawyer is their reluctance to discuss fees. From the onset, you should be aware of roughly how much it would take for the lawyer to accept and conclude your case. This is essential especially if you are on a limited budget.
Check all the bills and statements that you will receive from your lawyer. If you see an item that does not seem right or that you know nothing about, always ask for a clarification. If your lawyer cannot explain what it is, it’s probably time to start looking for other lawyers.
When you find yourself confronting any kind of legal problem, a lawyer is always a good partner to have on your side. Your lawyer will safeguard your interests and ensure that none of your rights are infringed upon. Make sure that you take the time to research and find a lawyer that is reliable, skilled, and ethical.