Having a lawyer represent you can be exciting, especially if it’s a new experience. They have a lot of legal knowledge and legal access that you don’t, which makes them seem like an expert even if they’re not an expert in particular. It’s also good to know that you have someone in your corner, who is thinking about your problems, and has had the experience to know how to solve these problems.
The problem is, all of these things make it difficult to tell when you simply have a lawyer who isn’t doing a good job. It’s simply not easy to evaluate your lawyer unless they make their skills blatantly clear through a great victory or a raucous defeat. Since you don’t want to risk any more legal troubles than you already have, it pays to know if your attorney is, well, good. Here’s a guide for answering that very question.
Communication: A Major Issue
Even if an attorney is powerless against the legal system and can only do a minimal amount of help for you, you can generally tell that they’re a good lawyer because of how clear and consistent their communication is. If you constantly find yourself having to leave messages with your lawyer’s secretary just to get one call back, then it’s clear the lines of communication have broken down. No one wants to feel like their lawyer barely even thinks about you. After all, it’s their job to think on your behalf!
That’s why communication is such a major issue. Don’t badger your lawyer at all hours in order to pump more information out of them, but do have the expectation that if you have honest questions about your case, that they will be answered clearly and promptly. That’s what you should expect from a lawyer who’s getting paid to represent you – and that’s at a bare minimum.
Your Level of Satisfaction
Sometimes, the question of whether or not to find a new lawyer just comes down to your own judgment and level of satisfaction.
Many lawyers have had “nightmare clients” who never seem to be satisfied with whatever they hear, even though lawyers are bound within the legal limits of the justice system just as you are. You don’t want to be one of those clients, but you do want to listen to your own feelings and intuition about just how good a job your lawyer is doing.
Is your lawyer responsive and clear? Do they present you with the options and give each option its full context? Do they have the experience to tell you what you can expect should you choose each of these options? These are the questions to ask if you want to evaluate your own level of satisfaction with your current attorney.
Because the decision is up to you, the question of whether or not your lawyer is doing a good job is often subjective. But don’t be afraid to give good lawyers the benefit of the doubt even when there’s little they can do to help you.