Unfortunately, I am often contacted by clients who are unhappy with their current attorneys.
This is always a little bit awkward, because I try not to criticize other attorneys, particularly when I don’t know them or what their work is like. Of course, lawyers are different, with different approaches. What works for me might not work for someone else.
One of the things that works for me is returning phone calls. Most of the time when clients are upset, it is because they have an attorney who does not return their calls. Another thing that works for me is being “hands on”. It is all too easy to hire a lot of staff, and to let the noon-lawyer staff deal with the cases. Problem is, there is a reason that people need an attorney, and an experienced one. Turning a case over to staff that may not have the training or experience may be OK a lot of the time, but the rest of the time it is NOT OK, and mistakes are made.
Generally, if you are unhappy with your attorney early in the case, you are not likely to be happier at the end.
What caused me to write this post is that I am struggling with a client referred by an old client. She came in to discuss her case a few months ago. I gave her what advice I could, explained how to go about changing attorneys, how it worked, and so forth. Now her case is coming up for an important hearing, and she wants me to make a last minute substitution. I don’t know if I will agree to take on such a precarious task. There are a lot of things that go into getting a case properly prepared, and I don’t think it is a service to jump in at the last minute unless I can also at least attempt to correct any mistakes in preparation.
I guess the bottom line is that you need an attorney you are comfortable with, just as your attorney needs to be comfortable with you and your case. A lot goes into a case, and a good relationship between attorney and client is very important.