Having to hire a lawyer usually means that there is some kind of dilemma or stressor in your life. Being in a tricky legal situation is bad enough without having to worry about whether your lawyer’s competence and performance are up to scratch. Here are the 5 top signs you’ve hired the wrong lawyer.
At Dickinson Parker Hill, we have a dedicated team of qualified legal professionals who can provide you with sensible and accurate advice on your personal legal matters. Combining a wealth of experience, expertise and a friendly service, we aim to gain the trust of our clients and obtain the best possible outcomes. Unfortunately, not all lawyers attain such high standards. These are our top signs that your current legal advisor isn’t making the grade.
A law degree from a top university is no good if a lawyer can’t communicate well. Knowing a textbook and the caselaw inside out is all very well, but it doesn’t equal practical competence. Does your lawyer have difficulty explaining legal concepts to you? Does their constant use of jargon mean you leave every meeting feeling confused?
This could be down to a lack of empathy towards a client but could also signal poor legal skills. Good lawyers don’t just know how the law works in theory: they also know how it works in the real world. They can explain complex concepts in layman’s terms, say what that means for you and come up with an appropriate solution or recommendation. If you feel like you’re constantly having a textbook recited to you, it might be time to find another advisor.
Lack of empathy
A good lawyer is not just out to pocket a good salary; they really care about their clients. Empathy and emotional intelligence are particularly important as far as the field of family law is concerned. If you are seeking legal advice on a matter such as divorce, child custody or domestic violence, having to deal with an uncaring or tactless solicitor will seriously compound your stress. It might even mean you avoid or put off getting legal advice.
It doesn’t have to be that way. There are many lawyers out there who will take your situation seriously and let you know that they’ve “got your back”. If you feel like you simply represent another file in the cupboard for your current advisor, don’t be afraid to terminate the mandate and move on.
Lawyers are busy people with lots of appointments to attend. If they have to cancel one or other appointment or occasionally turn up late, don’t panic. That’s mostly just a side effect of having a successful business – and could even be a sign of a good professional who is in demand!
However, if your lawyer habitually turns up to meetings late or leaves emails unanswered for an unreasonable period, that could be a red flag. The same goes for missed deadlines. Missing deadlines with courts or authorities could lead to adverse legal consequences for you, so knowing that your lawyer is properly organised and on top of her schedule is key.
Lack of transparency in billing
At the start of a partnership between a client and a legal advisor, there will have been a discussion about what fees will be charged for the work to be done. That discussion should have put you, the client, in a position where you know (roughly) what to expect when you receive an invoice later.
Sometimes, the nature or complexity of the case will mean that the original fee estimates were wrong and additional work has to be done. Does your lawyer give you notice of these extra fees and give you a clear breakdown of his charges in his invoices? Or does he simply plough on, leaving you with a nasty surprise when it comes to payment? Is it hard to get a clear explanation of what the invoiced amount comprises? Legal advice is not cheap, so make sure that you know where your money is going. If your current hire is in any way cagey or vague about billing, let them go.
Whether a lawyer is the right one for you or not may simply be down to whether your personalities “gel” or not. Some lawyers will be constantly buzzing with energy and communicate very forcefully. Others are calm and more diplomatic. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of that – you just need to know what kind of personality you are going to get on with.
Do you feel uncomfortable talking to the lawyer about your feelings and marital difficulties? Do you get annoyed that she communicates rather indirectly when you’d prefer a more direct approach? Client-lawyer relationships are like any other relationship: the chemistry has to be right for it to work. And sometimes the search takes a while.
Dickinson Parker Hill
Do you think that you have made a mistake when hiring your current lawyer? If so, it might be a good idea to look around for a replacement. Dickinson Parker Hill has been advising clients in the Ormskirk area on their personal legal matters for over 200 years. Whether you are purchasing a property or pursuing a personal injury claim, we can help you find a solution. With our friendly, bespoke service, you’ll always feel well taken care of. Give us a call on 01695 574201 or request a call-back at a more opportune time to find out more about our services.