4 Indicators That You’ve Hired a Bad Lawyer

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Greyscale photo of woman on a phone call; image by Siavash Ghanbari, via Unsplash.com.

You are entrusting this person with your future, and the least you can do for yourself is hire a lawyer who will do their best to stand up for your cause.

When you need an attorney, there is a very good chance that you are going through a difficult time in your life, whether it is a divorce, a personal injury lawsuit, or a business matter. These are the times when you need to feel like you are in the hands of a capable litigator, especially when your freedom, livelihood and honor are at stake. While most lawyers are capable and trustworthy (only around 4% to 17% of lawyers are sued for misconduct), there are some bad apples. Here are some red flags to look out for.

Bad communication skills

Lawyers are expected to be ready to keep their clients informed of their case. Lawyers who are hard to come by or who don’t answer your questions are generally a bad sign. Even when lawyers are usually busy, there is no reason for them to ignore their clients, especially if their law firm usually has staff trained to answer questions or make appointments for them.

Vague or dishonest billing

Calculators and paperwork; Image via Pxhere, CC0.

While it is generally accepted that hiring a lawyer is expensive, very few clients are aware of the work that takes place outside of the courtroom. This is not an excuse to fill in hours or add vague billing details. A reputable lawyer will advise you from the start of the costs you should expect, as well as any additional costs you may incur as your case progresses. The billing must be clear and precise and tell the customer what services they are paying for.

Over-promising

The law has so many variables that it is almost impossible to determine any particular outcome from the start. Any lawyer who claims they could easily win your case should not be trusted. Even excellent lawyers will only promise what a client can reasonably expect from the case. You need an honest lawyer who is not afraid to tell difficult truths.

Poor peer review

Other attorneys and legal practitioners are a good indicator of your attorney’s standing in the profession as they may have worked closely with your attorney in the past. It’s pretty easy to tell if other lawyers are viewing your attorney with professional courtesy or disdain. If you find that your lawyer is generally not liked, you may want to find a lawyer who has a better reputation among his peers as this is a big red flag.

Remember, these are professionals who understand the due process and moral obligations that a lawyer should adhere to. If these people are careful with your attorney, so should you.

The importance of hiring a good lawyer cannot be overstated, especially when it is expensive to hire. You are entrusting this person with your future, and the least you can do for yourself is hire a lawyer who will do their best to stand up for your cause.