We all have different tastes, and varying notions of what makes a thing great. Some of us tend to the simple yet sophisticated, while others are into ostentation and flair. Just like there is no one way to be well-dressed or well-read, there are different styles of lawyering, and all different kinds of attorneys make good lawyers.
Still, there are some general signs of someone who is, frankly, just no good. If you see these in your personal injury lawyer, you should reconsider representation.
Fast Food Lawyering
Some law firms specialize in fast food lawyering, which is to say they have a single approach to all cases. They make promises, guarantee specific results, insist you settle, and are pretty vague about when they will communicate about your case.
Maybe you will end up with one of these lawyers because they invest a lot of resources in advertising and have offices nationwide. But these firms are commonly referred to as settlement mills because they do not practice law ethically and they don’t put their clients first.
Three Warning Signs
Three signs of a shady injury lawyer to watch for, spelled out, are as follows:
- Guaranteed Results: Any attorney who promises you an outcome is violating an ethical duty he or she was sworn to uphold. No one can promise you particular results. What they can promise is to work for you and do their utmost. Anything more than that is boasting or worse, and may be a sign your lawyer doesn’t walk an ethical line.
- Insistence on Settlement: You are entitled to take your case to trial, even if your lawyer advises against it. An attorney who absolutely insists on settlement and won’t even talk trial is probably trying to maximize the dollar value of their time. Not all cases should go to trial, and the vast majority of cases don’t. But a good lawyer will explain the risks and be willing to consider it.
- Vague on Communication: A lawyer who is uncommunicative will not make a good representative. Your attorney should let you know about developments in your case on a regular basis, and if there are none, if things are stalled, you should know why. Clients are often unhappy about their lawyer’s lack of communication and sometimes unjustly so — even a good lawyer who lets you know what is going on won’t be in constant contact. But if you can’t ever reach your attorney to ask questions or get guidance, you should be asking yourself if you’re getting the right representation.
Consult With Counsel
If you have been injured, consult with an attorney, or even two or three. Many lawyers will consult for free or a low fee and will be happy to assess your case. Pick the lawyer that’s to your taste … and someone who will be great.
- Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury)
- First Steps in a Personal Injury Claim (FindLaw)
- Meeting With an Attorney (Findlaw)