Seven Signs You Need a New Attorney

Seven Signs You Need a New Attorney

Attorneys are supposed to be our guides through complicated legal minefields and our champions when our companies encounter a legal challenge, but for many that’s unfortunately not the case. Lots of business owners have experienced moments that left them feeling jilted by their legal representation. Depending on the situation, this can create a serious amount of stress or even be downright terrifying.

We’ve gathered up some red flags that every business owner should be on the lookout for, as a combination of one or more of these elements could signify that you’ve got a bad attorney.


  1. Radio Silence

Poor communication is the most common complaint clients have regarding their attorneys. Stephen E. Schemenauer famously wrote in the Hamline Law Review that “This failure to communicate at both the individual attorney level, and the systemic level, is one of the greatest causes of popular dissatisfaction with the legal profession today, and this problem is not new. It was identified over 100 years ago and continues yet today, despite numerous warnings to fix the problem.”

Anytime your company is facing a lawsuit, there’s going to be questions, worries, and lots of different points at which one would hope their legal council would be available to provide some peace-of-mind. A good attorney will detail the preferred ways you can reach them and will respond to your inquires in your agreed upon manner.


  1. Poor Rapport

How do you feel about your lawyer? Do you trust them to have your company’s best interest at heart or do they make you feel a bit insecure? It’s an important question to consider, as your collaboration will probably be dealing with unique and specific legal challenges. It’s not necessary for the two of you to become best-friends-for-life, but it’s important for you to make a unified team.

A good attorney will be able to allay their clients’ fears during the most anxiety-ridden moments of a legal case by understanding and addressing those fears in a calm, reassuring manner.


  1. Disinterest

When your company calls upon an attorney, it’s because you have a specific legal need. It’s not a routine scenario for your business, so you’re seeking council. To be met with a disinterested lawyer who acts like your problem is commonplace would be a disconcerting feeling for anyone seeking help. It can feel a lot like you were facing your problem alone.

Even though your particular case may or may not be archetypal, a good attorney will validate your concerns no matter how ordinary they may be.


  1. Hidden Fees

If you ever start noticing small additional line items on your legal bills containing things like additional fees for things like postage, copying, or other legal surcharges that are only vaguely defined, you may want to hoist up a big red flag. No one should stand for overbilling.

A good law firm will have its billable items clearly described on your bill and will generally be up front about the costs your company will be incurring.


  1. Tardiness

So, there you are – on time and ready to proceed at an important legal appointment and your attorney is nowhere to be found. The clock ticks minutes by your agreed upon time and you’re just left there waiting on your own. It’s a horrible panic-inducing feeling, especially if you were nervous to begin with.

As a business leader, your time is valuable. But even more-so, as a valued client, your time and concerns should be respected. A good lawyer will be there on time. Period. It sounds like such a simple thing, but it makes a world of difference.


  1. Uncertainty

If it feels like your lawyer is simply flying by the seat of their pants as they handle your case, it’s really not a good sign of competent and capable representation. A clear plan is a comforting thing to have when your company is dealing with any kind of legal issue, and frankly it’s something every client should be able to expect from their law firm.

From day one, a good lawyer should be able to tell you about the next steps that will happen in your case, even if those next steps might be additional research on their part. A clear direction and a plan will help you sleep at night.


  1. Ever-Changing Support Staff

If you happen to notice an ever-changing amount of support staff during points when you call or otherwise correspond with your law firm, it could be indicative of a high turnover rate among their employees. That, generally, is a sign of a poor work environment or bad hiring decisions, neither of which are things you want to find among your legal partners.

A good law firm will have at least some support staff that remember your name and know a little bit about your relationship with their firm. Good client service is very telling about the inner workings of your attorney’s office.

Category Features, Rule of Law