Can You Fire Your Lawyer?
Yes. Clients always have the power to fire their lawyer, and there are some good reasons for doing so. Lawyers must provide competent, ethical service to their clients, and they can seriously damage your ability to obtain compensation when they fail to do their job properly. At Naqvi Law, we regularly meet with accident victims who are dissatisfied with their attorney and are on the market for more professional legal help.
Below, we identify red flags for watch for and what to do if your lawyer is not helping you. Give us a call to learn more about the services we provide our clients.
6 Warning Signs Your Attorney Isn’t Doing a Good Job
Most people are relieved when they finally hire an attorney to represent them. However, after a few weeks or months, they become frustrated or concerned with their lawyer’s behavior. Here are 6 red flags to watch out for:
- Your Attorney is Ignoring You
This is a definite sign that your lawyer does not have your best interests at heart. Lawyers should stay in regular contact with their clients. True, an attorney doesn’t need to talk to you every day, and they might be very busy. A lawyer isn’t ignoring you if they take a day or two to return a phone call or respond to an email. However, a lawyer must keep a client updated on key developments in a case because it is ultimately the client who calls the shots. If months go by and you haven’t heard anything, then there might be a problem.
- Your Attorney Tells Other People Your Secrets
All Nevada attorneys owe an ethical duty to keep their client’s confidence. This means they cannot talk to other people about confidential information which they learn about while representing you. Of course, this does not mean that your lawyer can’t ever talk about your case. For example, they might need to hire an expert witness to help them represent you and, as a result, they talk about your case.
But your lawyer shouldn’t gossip about your case or release information to doctors or opposing counsel without your permission.
- Your Attorney Misses Deadlines
There are many key deadlines a personal injury attorney must meet. For example, Nevada’s statute of limitations gives accident victims only two years to file a lawsuit for bodily injuries following a crash. If you miss this deadline, you cannot sue—it’s that simple. A competent attorney stays on top of all deadlines so that clients don’t forfeit their rights to compensation.
- Your Attorney Makes You Feel Uncomfortable
The attorney-client relationship is built on trust. If you don’t trust your lawyer, you can’t have faith that they are doing a good job. Although you should have met for a free consultation, you might have hired someone without giving the decision too much thought. Over time, you become less and less comfortable talking to the lawyer. The lawyer might be arrogant, a poor listener, or have a sense of humor that just doesn’t work with you. It’s okay to realize your personal styles don’t mesh. But when you feel so uncomfortable you don’t share your honest thoughts, then you should consider hiring someone new.
- Your Lawyer is Dishonest
Lawyers must be honest. If your lawyer lies to you, then you clearly need to find a new attorney. Examples of dishonesty include committing a crime, lying, or misusing your money. An attorney might withdraw money from a settlement without telling you. That’s a clear red flag.
- You Don’t Understand Charges on Your Bill
A lawyer should have discussed how he or she charges fees before agreeing to represent you. This fee agreement should also be in writing so you can refer to it. For these reasons, there really should be no surprises on your bill. If you see something you don’t understand, then call your attorney and speak to someone at the office. There should be a simple explanation for why the charge was included in the bill. If it was included by mistake, then your attorney should remove it and apologize.
What Can I Do if My Attorney is Not Doing Their Job?
No one should put up with poor legal representation. Consider taking action to address the concerns you have. Although you can immediately fire your attorney if you want, you might want to get his or her side of the story before doing so. Often, parties can clear up any miscommunication and set the relationship on more solid ground.
Talk with Your Attorney
Call up the office and schedule a meeting. Any meeting should be in person so you can fully air your disagreements. If your lawyer won’t make time for you, then you should move on and hire someone else.
Before the meeting, write down your concerns so you will remember what you want to say. At the meeting, explain why you are unhappy and ask your lawyer how they plan to address the issues you have raised. Ask for specifics. For example, if you want more communication with your lawyer, ask if they will commit to weekly emails or phone calls. Alternatively, you could get regular updates from a paralegal or someone else in the office.
Report Your Lawyer for an Ethical Violation
You can file an ethics complaint with the State Bar of Nevada. They will investigate and discipline unethical lawyers to protect the public. Not everything that upsets you is an ethical violation. A weird sense of humor probably isn’t. But the Bar can figure out whether your complaint raises an ethical concern.
Sue for Legal Malpractice
Some attorney errors end up costing you money. For example, a lawyer who misses the deadline to file a lawsuit is costing you substantial sums of cash. No innocent victim should suffer in silence in that situation.
With a malpractice claim, you seek financial compensation for all losses caused by your attorney’s negligent representation. Meet with a lawyer who specializes in those types of cases.
Say “You’re Fired!”
When all else fails, you can sue your lawyer. Of course, there are some downsides to firing an attorney. For one, you’ll need to find a new one, which isn’t always easy. For another, your new lawyer needs to get up to speed on your case which can delay your ability to obtain a settlement.
Nevertheless, there comes a time where “enough is enough.” There is no good way to let an attorney go. We recommend putting your reasons in a letter and mailing it to them. Keep a copy for your records. Explain why you are unhappy and emphasize that the lawyer has not addressed the concerns you raised with them earlier. Also, request that your lawyer provide you with a copy of your client file. Your new attorney will need this information to catch up on your case.
You should also be on the lookout for an experienced attorney. Someone with ample experience can hit the ground running to secure fair compensation.
Meet with a Top-Rated Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney
Naqvi Law is an established personal injury law firm representing those in Las Vegas and surrounding areas. If you’ve been involved in an accident, we can help. We take great pride in providing quality representation to our clients in all phases of a personal injury claim. Please do not hesitate to contact us.
Over the years, we’ve found what works. Open and honest communication is the foundation of any attorney-client relationship. We provide the personalized attention that accident victims need. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.