Six Red Flags or How to Know When You Need to Take Your Case to a Fixer
There are a lot of bad lawyers out there. Even seemingly good lawyers with impeccable credentials, fancy offices, and loads of clients can be bad.
The legal system is slow, it can be frustrating, and it can be seemingly random. But how can you tell the difference between apparent randomness and the occasional undeserved bad outcome, and a lawyer that is putting you behind the eight ball by exercising bad judgment?
Here are 6 red flags that if you see, your lawyer is probably messing up your case. Not necessarily, but probably, and definitely worth a second look.
- Long letters, lots (and bills you for them). Lawyers love to write letters – I enjoy writing them myself. Sometimes, though rarely, it’s even necessary to use a letter to tee up some specific issue for the Court to decide. But if your lawyers are exchanging multiple 10-20 page letters a month with the other side, it’s a bad sign. Really bad. Phone calls and short emails are more efficient (and effective) at getting issues resolved.
Motions to strike. This happens when lawyers let emotion get in the way of good judgment. Are you seeing a motion to strike an expert report because it was served at 1:30 a.m. when the deadline was midnight? Motion to strike the other side’s reply brief because the font didn’t conform to the Court’s local rules? Waste of time. Waste of money. Burns your and your lawyer’s credibility.
Your lawyer tells you that your chance of victory is 100%. It isn’t. Bad judgment, bad lawyer.
Bills for “Trial preparation” without a trial date. Huh? It’s all going to have be redone anyway. What’s the point? There isn’t one. Your lawyer isn’t acting in your best interest.
Wait, what just happened? Oh, you mean you didn’t know that the Court could do that? Didn’t realize that this issue had to be decided? You should have. Your lawyer should have explained it. Bad sign. What else aren’t you being told?
Tells you – 2+ years in – “We have to settle.” Things come up; I get that. I’ve seen it myself. But it’s your lawyer’s job to figure out the issues in your case and give you a sensible range of possible outcomes. Similar to number 3. Your chances of winning aren’t 100%. Neither are your chances of losing.
None of these are hard and fast rules, and some rules are made to be broken (at least sometimes). But they are red flags. Watch out if you are experiencing any of the above in your case.
And, of course, Populus Law LLC may be able to help.