It can be mentally and emotionally draining to go through a divorce, a custody battle, or any other legal battle. It’s important to have a reliable, reassuring, and competent lawyer by your side throughout the process. While a good attorney can make the ordeal much easier to bear, a bad attorney will only add to your stress.
Here are 6 signs that you hired the wrong lawyer for your case, and what you can do to fix the situation.
1. Personality Conflicts
Every lawyer has a unique personality. Some are high energy “go-getters,” while others are calm and methodical. However, the last thing you need to deal with in the middle of an exhausting court battle is a personality conflict with your attorney. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of your time with your lawyer, whether in consultations, mediation sessions, or in court. If personality is an issue from the outset, then you may need to “cut bait” and find another attorney, if feasible.
In the context of a court case, incompetence is the “inability to represent you successfully in your case.” You hired your lawyer to do a job — and if he can’t do it, then he shouldn’t have taken your money in the first place.
Granted, even the most skilled and conscientious lawyers will occasionally lose a case. However, if your attorney isn’t prepared, doesn’t show any interest in your case, or goes AWOL at critical junctures in the case, then you may have hired an incompetent lawyer.
3. Obscure Billing Practices
If your lawyer is not transparent with his billing practices, then you may be paying much, much more than you should be. While first-class family law attorneys may be somewhat expensive to keep on retainer, reputable lawyers are able to account for and justify each and every item on the invoice they send you. In contrast, unscrupulous lawyers may dishonestly inflate their fees by:
- “Padding” their hours (or outright fabricating them)
- Billing you twice for the same service
- Incorporating overhead fees into your bill (for example, utility expenses that they should take care of on their own)
One telltale sign of a sketchy lawyer is when you ask him for an itemized list of all his invoiced items, and he either can’t (or won’t) show you such a list. If that happens, you are almost certainly dealing with a bad lawyer.
4. Poor Communication
Lawyers are busy people, and may juggle multiple cases at the same time. With that in mind, you can’t expect your lawyer to be readily available 100% of the time, or immediately call back after you leave a message. This is especially true if you and your lawyer are comfortable with different communication mediums (for instance, you like to text, but your lawyer likes to call).
However, if you try time and time again to get in touch with your lawyer and never receive a response, then there may be something seriously wrong with the practice, or with your lawyer personally. If your lawyer can’t provide you with at least occasional updates on your case, then he may have dropped the ball at some point — which means you’ll be the one paying for it.
5. Lack of Empathy or Interest
It’s true that you’re not paying your lawyer to be your therapist. You want competence, and you want results.
At the same time, if an attorney in family law doesn’t have any empathy for his clients, that should set off some serious alarm bells. Granted, family law attorneys have a tough job, and step into the middle of contentious, hostile domestic disputes on a daily basis. Nevertheless, you want your attorney to “go the extra mile” to see that justice is done; and only lawyers that really care about their clients are willing to expend that extra effort.
The bottom line is that a disconnected lawyer is very often synonymous with a bad lawyer.
6. Lack of Punctuality
This one is tricky, because lawyers often have to attend multiple court cases in a day, and may easily get delayed if one of those cases goes longer than expected. Furthermore, hiring a busy lawyer (in other words, a lawyer with a lot of clients) is usually a better bet than retaining a lawyer that has a virtually empty schedule (translation: he’s new to the profession, and/or he’s not very good).
However, if your lawyer is consistently late to meetings and hearings, and it seems like he’s not very well-prepared when he does show up, then you could be in serious trouble. Whatever the underlying issue may be, you need your attorney — the person you’re paying money to represent you — to be there to actually represent you when the time comes. If he can’t or won’t show up, then you’ve hired the wrong lawyer for your case.
Why Choose Willick Law Group
Whether you want to avoid hiring a bad lawyer, or have already hired one and want to make a change, Willick Law Group is here to help. We are Las Vegas’ premier family law firm, and have exclusively worked in this field for some three decades. We practice at the trial court level in both State and Federal Courts, and have represented clients in appeals to the Nevada Supreme Court and the Federal Appellate Courts.
Over the years, we’ve won a hard-earned reputation for diligence, thorough research, and zealous advocacy. We understand the emotional pain, mental stress, and physical toll that a family law case can inflict on a person, which is why we always do our very best to bring each case to a swift and successful conclusion.
When you hire us for your family law case, you won’t have to worry about poor communication, lack of results, or lack of effort. Instead, you’ll experience the benefits that come from working with an experienced, empathetic, and dedicated team of legal professionals.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, reach out to us today for further information.