There’s one thing on the forefront of everyone’s mind when they’re leaving their lawyers office: “I hope I’m making the right choice.” Even when someone comes highly recommended everyone fears that their lawyer will end up overcharging them or not doing what they promised they would do. The reason that lawyers get the reputation of a blood sucker or, shyster, if you will, is because there are quite a few of them out there who give the good ones a bad name. As mentioned before, every rose has it’s thorn and let’s just say that there are quite a few that are out to draw blood or who like to “bleed a turnip.” It’s true that hiring a lawyer isn’t cheap, and if it is, you probably aren’t getting the best one, but not every lawyer is out to swindle their clients. Here’s a few signs that your lawyer is trying to bleed you dry:
- You hire your lawyer on Thursday with a $3,000.00 retainer and by Monday, the entire retainer is gone. Here’s the deal, if there have been hearings on Thursday and Monday, then this makes sense. However, if you hired your attorney, and by Monday everything is gone and you haven’t been to court, haven’t called and had numerous gossip sessions with your attorney or the staff, or haven’t scheduled multiple sit downs with your attorney and/or their staff, there’s not very many other reasons that your money should be depleted. There are lawyers who will work a case to death as quickly as possible because they don’t want to go to court for you or because they want your money to cover their overhead more than they care about your case.
- You meet with the namesake of the firm and then never… hear …from… them… again. There are different types of lawyers. The ones who like being lawyers, and thus can’t stay away from court, and the ones who want to be a lawyer in name only. Those lawyers are the ones who constantly hire new blood, throw them at the clients like bait and then disappear to go on vacation every week. This doesn’t mean that your lawyer can’t go on vacation, because lawyers need vacation to survive just like you do. However, these lawyers are different. They rarely return calls, emails, nor do they show their face to you after the initial consultation (and maybe not even then). The thing is, you never ever see this person unless it’s the first meet and greet. They’re like the Wizard of Oz. This is a sign that they don’t care about your case, but they do care about your money (CAVEAT: This DOES NOT mean that their associates don’t care about your case.)
- Your lawyer bills you thousands a week. As said in number 1, if you aren’t calling, meeting with, and/or having court, your attorney has no reason to bill over thousands of dollars each week. If they have you on an auto pay system, that’s even sketchier. You need to make sure you’re getting a bill in case you dispute any charges. If court hasn’t been set, and there are no depositions or discovery due, there’s little besides negotiation which will be THAT costly. However, remember, if you are calling excessively, those calls aren’t free. Also, if you’re having fights every week, asking your lawyer to intervene CAN cost a mighty dime.
- Your lawyer’s reputation precedes them. If you overhear other lawyers snickering in court, or if a judge acts shocked that the namesake of the firm blessed him or her with their presence that means there’s an issue with your attorney. Lawyers should be in and out of the courtroom all the time to meet and mingle with the opposing counsel. Once people come up with a nickname referencing the fact the person never comes to court, there’s no coming back from that. For example, say your attorney’s name is Esther and you hear some other lawyer call her “Never-see-her-Esther” that probably means she doesn’t do her job that much. This probably means that your lawyer is a number 2.