Your attorney is your greatest advocate in a courtroom setting. Whether you’re working through a divorce or fighting a traffic ticket, having a good lawyer on your side can increase your chances of a positive outcome.
However, lawyers are not all alike. Some will listen intently to the details of your case, while others will pass that responsibility to a paralegal and call it a day. How can you tell if you should fire your lawyer? Keep your eyes peeled for these red flags.
They Don’t Understand Your Case
When you lay out the facts of your case to your attorney, they should immediately start formulating a legal strategy. If your attorney seems confused or they’ve never handled this type of case before, you may be better off seeking different representation. Look for an attorney that specializes in cases similar to yours.
They Have No Online Presence
Many people choose attorneys based on positive reviews from former clients. Does your attorney have a bare-bones website with little information and no testimonials—or no website at all? A lawyer with no apparent history of winning cases may be trying to conceal a poor record.
They Have Shady Billing Practices
When you receive bills from your attorney, does it look like they’re rounding up their billable hours? Do they request that you pay in cash or bill you for expenses you weren’t aware of? If your attorney’s billing practices are unclear or suspicious, end your partnership with them and begin your lawyer search anew.
They Exhibit Unethical Behavior
Your attorney should encourage you to tell the truth when you’re on the witness stand. A good lawyer reminds you not to exaggerate the facts of your case and to stick to their line of questioning. On the other hand, advising you to embellish the truth is a surefire sign of a bad lawyer—and a sign that you need to look for new representation.
They Disregard Your Wishes
As you and your attorney work together to prepare your case, they may have a plan that diverges from yours. For example, if you’re in the midst of a divorce, they may want to prepare for a courtroom fight while you simply want it to be over quickly. If your attorney hesitates or refuses to take your wishes into account, seek out a lawyer who will listen and work with you.
How can you tell if you should fire your lawyer? There are plenty of valid reasons to end your partnership with your attorney, whether they’re legitimately a bad lawyer or they simply have different priorities. If every meeting with your attorney leaves you feeling frustrated, it’s probably time to seek new representation.