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3 weeks ago Ethics

5 Telltale Signs of a Bad Lawyer

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.

3. Tardiness

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.

Conclusion

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.

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3 weeks ago Ethics , Fraud , Laws

Legalities of Streaming Digital Music on the Internet

Are you a music lover?  Do you have a passion for streaming or downloading the newest bands and old classics?  Does music steer you through life’s ups and downs? Perhaps music is your soul and lifeline like it is for me?  If so then you should Follow The Music. Either way, if you download or stream digital music, there are some things you should know about what is legal and what is not.

Over the years things in the world of digital music have changed, evolved, and even found different places to call home.  Whether you use Pandora, Spotify, iTunes etc. you really should become more educated on what is legal and what is not. Both for your sake and that of the artists you are into.

First, let’s talk about the differences between what is interactive and non-interactive.  In accordance with United States laws Web radio stations and online music streaming services fall into these two categories.  What is the difference you may ask?

Interactive

When a person makes their own playlists to be able to access them anytime.

Non-Interactive

When a service is considered non-interactive then each user has limited control over what songs are able to be played.

Sites like Grooveshark and Spotify offer interactive services.  Whereas sites like turntable fm have what are called “listening rooms” and don’t allow the users control over what is being played.  So they are non-interactive.

When it comes to Grooveshark, they tend to get sued by artists a great deal.  Artists claim copyright infringement because of intellectual property laws. However, Grooveshark says it follows the rules of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  The problem that Grooveshark runs into is they don’t have the capability to keep proper tabs on who is doing what and with what files. Although Grooveshark does frequently send out cease-and-desist orders following through on them can be complicated.  

When it comes to non-interactive sites like Turntable fm, they are supposed to adhere to the SoundExchange Statutory Licensing For Non-Interactive Music Sharing Sites rules  SoundExchange is a non-profit entity that allows non-interactive music streaming service providers to pay out royalties if need be. Turntable fm is probably the safest of the music streaming websites since it doesn’t have to worry about royalties to artists.  Turntable only allows its users to choose a genre of music and then songs are played based on that.

The online world and federal laws have not always meshed well.  Although things are getting more clear on all fronts they still aren’t crystal that’s for sure.  It’s always best to err on the side of caution when downloading, streaming, or doing just about anything online.  Do your research and try to arm yourself with the best knowledge you can get on the subject at hand. If all else fails then call a lawyer and ask them.

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5 months ago Ethics , Law Firms

Top 6 Telltale Signs You Hired a Bad Lawyer And How to Avoid it in the Future

There are currently 1.34 million lawyers in the United States, but that doesn’t mean they’re all good. If you need a lawyer to defend you, whether you were wrongly accused of a crime or to help you settle a divorce, you want to make sure you hired a good one.

Continue reading to learn of 5 telltale signs you hired a bad lawyer and how to avoid it in the future.

1. Lack of Communication

When you hire a lawyer, you’re bound to have questions about your case. A good lawyer should always communicate what’s going on with your case, whether it’s about next steps or whose working on it.

If you can’t seem to get a hold of your lawyer, especially after many phone calls and messages, that’s a bad sign. While lawyers get busy with other cases, they should always put their clients first.

If you can’t reach your lawyer you should be able to reach the office or another staff member who can set up an appointment with you or a good time to reach them. Keep in mind that missed phone calls happen to the best of us, but your lawyer should never ignore you.

Another thing to consider is how your attorney likes to communicate. In such a digital age, one lawyer may prefer email and texting while others stick to an old-fashioned phone call.

The bottom line is, lawyer’s aren’t cheap. You’re not only paying them to help you with a case, but to communicate and give you their best service. If your lawyer isn’t communicating, you might consider switching to a new attorney.

To avoid this in the future, ask your lawyer how the best way to reach them is during the consultation. This way you’ll know if they prefer email over phone calls and you can avoid any miscommunication.

2. Lack of Enthusiasm

One of the biggest parts about being a lawyer is convincing the jury to go in your favor. If your attorney isn’t enthusiastic about your case or seems unsure, that should raise some red flags.

But, another bad sign to watch out for is if they seem overconfident. While it’s good to be enthusiastic about a case outcome, their job is to be realistic and prepare you for any scenario which can occur.

3. Unclear Billing

We mentioned it earlier and we’ll say it again – lawyers aren’t cheap. It’s not always their fault, it’s just the price of the service. But, if you hire a lawyer and you’re seeing excessive or overbilling charges, something’s wrong.

If you lawyer is overbilling you, they could be inflating a task time, also know as “padding time”. Here are some other fees or unclear billing to watch out for:

    • Vague billing

    • Hidden expenses

  • Surcharge on legal expenses

You should never receive a bill with vague information. Each bill should clearly explain what the charge was for, who performed it, when, and for how long.

Some law firms add surcharge fees to simple tasks or items such as postage or copying; these fees are unethical and inappropriate. If you see any billing fees that are unexplained and unclear, don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer what they’re for.

4. Unethical/Illegal Behavior

Although some lawyers may have bad habits such as lack of communication, one of the biggest signs of a bad lawyer is if they practice unethically or even illegally.

As important as it is to win your case, your lawyer should never do so by breaking the law or lying. Getting caught will not only look bad for your case, but both you and your lawyer could get charged with perjury with defense, also known as lying under oath.

A lawyer doesn’t always have to do something illegal to be bad. Here are some other unprofessional or unethical things to look out for:

    • Missing or showing up late to meetings and other important appointments

    • Not having documents filed by the deadline, filing the wrong paperwork, or filing paperwork incorrectly

    • Making important decisions without asking you first

    • Not returning your calls

    • Having a conflict of interest in the case

  • Not working on your case at all

If your lawyer does one or any of these, it’s time to switch lawyers. Use this guide to help you through the process.

5. No Compassion/Empathy

Just as important as it is for your lawyer to get the job done, it’s equally as important for them to empathize with you and understand what you’re going through. Whether it’s a divorce case or a personal injury case, showing no compassion or empathy is a definite sign of a bad lawyer.

The better they understand and empathize with you, the better they’ll be able to communicate that pain and suffering to an insurance company or jury if your case goes to trial. Although you may not love your lawyer, as long as they understand you and your case you’re in good hands.

6. Signs of Respect

Like any job, some lawyers start out on the bottom and need to work their way to the top. Despite what online reviews say, if you notice a lack of respect for your lawyer in the courtroom or by other peers, it’s a red flag.

Your lawyer needs to be respected and taken seriously, especially if your case goes to trial. If you don’t see a sign of respect from other peers, neither will the jury. Take the hint and find someone new.

Telltale Signs You Hired a Bad Lawyer

There are so many things to consider when hiring a lawyer, and once you’ve found one you have faith in and feel confident working with, it’s hard to see some of these telltale signs. If you notice any of these 6 signs, don’t be afraid to switch attorneys and start new.

If you need legal help and want to avoid hiring a bad lawyer, check out our website. Contact us and we can help you find the perfect lawyer to help with your case.

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