How to Know if Your Lawyer Is Selling You Out. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, finding a trustworthy lawyer is essential to protecting your interests and navigating the complex legal landscape.
But what if the very person you hired to defend you is betraying you? In this article, we explain the question: How do you know if your lawyer is selling you out?
How to Know if Your Lawyer Is Selling You Out
Several signs may suggest that your attorney is being less than honest with you, and it is important to listen and pay attention to these potential issues. Never forget that you are paying your lawyer, not the other way around, and you can fire them whenever they no longer serve your interests.
Signs that Your Lawyer Is Selling You Out
According to the American Bar Association (ABA), lawyers in private practice have a 4 percent to 17 percent possibility of being accused of malpractice each year, depending on the jurisdiction and the scope of their work.
If you’ve been wronged by your lawyer, or if you think your lawyer may be betraying your interests, here are some signs to look out for:
If your lawyer is incapable of returning phone calls or ignoring your calls in general, it is in your best interest to send a certified letter to their office questioning the failure to communicate appropriately and advising them you are pursuing a new lawyer if things don’t change. Good communication is crucial in maintaining a client-attorney relationship and must continue throughout the case, hoping to attain maximum compensation.
Clients can view the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.4, which portrays how a lawyer should maintain communication. While it varies from case to case, a basic understanding of what you can expect from your lawyer can better prepare you for the case if communication issues arise.
Rushing To Settle Your Case
While settling a case can sometimes be in a client’s best interest, Being hurried into a settlement without adequate explanation or time to consider your options can be a red flag. If your lawyer is pushing for a quick settlement without thoroughly evaluating all aspects of your case or considering other possible strategies, they may not be acting in your best interest.
When a lawyer pushes for a quick settlement, it may mean that they’re not fully advocating for your best interests. They might be prioritizing their convenience or financial gain over your potential benefits from a trial. Rushing to settle could prevent you from getting the full compensation or justice you deserve, especially if all alternatives have not been thoroughly explored.
Missed Deadlines or Appointments
If your lawyer seems to be constantly forgetting about deadlines, it may be a sign that he or she is not taking your case seriously. This could be a sign that your lawyer is not adequately preparing for court or is not keeping up with the paperwork associated with your case.
Lawyers meet deadlines and take appointments seriously for various reasons. One reason is to ensure your case has the best chance of working out in your favor. In addition, lawyers do so to show that they take cases seriously and that they can perform professionally and ethically. The statute of limitations says that documents and information about a claim must be taken care of and given to the court.
Disclosure of Confidential Information
Your lawyer is obligated to keep your conversations and information confidential. If you discover that your lawyer has shared your information without your consent, this is a serious breach of their duty of loyalty and attorney-client privilege. This could imply a betrayal of your trust and a violation of professional conduct rules.
Client confidentiality is not just an ethical obligation for lawyers—it’s a fundamental right for clients. Breaches could include sharing your information with unauthorized individuals, discussing your case publicly, or using your information for their benefit. Such violations are serious and can significantly affect the outcome of your case.
Do not Listen to Your Questions and avoid Answering them
Clients must understand that asking quick questions can only sometimes produce quick answers. While a lawyer’s job is to help answer the legal questions of their clients, their job is also to properly understand what the client is asking and provide thorough answers. A thoughtful, methodical lawyer will know the appropriate time frame for getting back to clients and answering their questions.
If you notice your lawyer continuously avoids your queries and it poses a severe threat to the case, there is a solution. You can send a certified letter to the lawyer’s office questioning their failure to communicate appropriately and letting them know it’s in your best interest to seek a Lawyer who can meet your needs, assuming your needs are appropriate.
Financial Irregularities or Unexpected Charges
If you notice unexpected charges, unexplained fees, or dubious billing practices, these could be signs of financial irregularities. Lawyers are required to be transparent about their fees and costs, and any deviations from this could point to unethical behavior. Always ask for itemized bills and question any charges you don’t understand.
Not Confident In Court
If your lawyer seems nervous or unsure of himself in court, it may be a sign that he is not confident in your case. This could mean that your lawyer is not adequately prepared, or that he does not believe you have a strong chance of winning. Either way, this is not the type of lawyer you want to represent you in court.
A good lawyer should always be confident in court and should never give you the impression that he is unsure of himself. If your lawyer seems hesitant or unsure of what he is doing, it may be time to find someone new.
If your lawyer is behaving in a way that you consider to be unprofessional, it may be a sign that he is not taking your case seriously. This could include things like showing up late for meetings, not returning your calls promptly, or being rude to you or the other party. A lawyer should always behave professionally and treat you with respect.
Appears To be Uninterested in Your Case.
If you feel that your lawyer is uninterested in your case, it might be an indication that they are not working in your best interests. An uninterested lawyer may not take the time to explain your legal options or answer your questions adequately, which can result in poor representation. An attorney who is not interested in your case may also neglect important details or fail to investigate thoroughly, leading to a poor outcome.
If you notice that your lawyer is unresponsive to your concerns or does not show any interest in your case, it is best to switch to a lawyer who is committed and engaged.
What to Do if Your Lawyer is Selling You Out
Here are some things you should do if you feel your lawyer is selling you out:
Document any suspicious behavior, unexplained charges, or missed deadlines. Keep records of your communication with your lawyer, including emails, texts, and phone calls.
Confront Your Lawyer
Express your concerns directly to your attorney. Ask for explanations and allow them to address the issues you’ve identified.
Request Regular updates.
Ask your lawyer to provide regular updates on the progress of your case and communicate with you in a timely and transparent manner.
Review All documentation.
Carefully review any documents your lawyer asks you to sign, and ask for clarification on any unclear terms.
Report Unethical behavior.
When you believe your lawyer has engaged in unethical behavior or violated professional standards, consider filing a complaint with your state’s bar association.
Seek a Second Opinion
If you suspect your lawyer is not acting in your best interest, consider getting a second opinion from another lawyer.
Find a New Lawyer
If you’ve lost trust in your lawyer and believe they’re not acting in your best interest, it may be time to find a new lawyer who will prioritize your case and advocate for you effectively.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Do if My Lawyer Missed a Deadline or Appointment?
You should talk to your lawyer immediately to understand the reasons behind the missed deadline or appointment. If there is a legitimate reason, you can work together to find a solution. If your lawyer does not provide a satisfactory explanation, you may need to consider finding a new lawyer.
Can My Lawyer Settle My Case Without My Consent?
No, your lawyer should obtain your explicit consent before accepting or rejecting any settlement offers on your behalf. It is your right as a client to be involved in such decisions and have the final say on whether to settle your case or not.
Why Do Lawyers Drag Out Cases?
You know that trials earn lawyers handsome revenue. So, a greedy lawyer will tend to drag the case out intentionally. Then he’ll drag the case out just for his fee.
As a client, it is crucial to be vigilant and proactive in ensuring that your lawyer is truly acting in your best interests and not selling you out. By being aware of the warning signs discussed above and taking appropriate actions, you can protect your legal rights and interests.
In case you suspect that your lawyer is not acting in your best interests and may be selling you out, consider taking appropriate actions, such as voicing your concerns, seeking a second opinion, reporting unethical behavior, or finding a new lawyer who will truly prioritize your best interests.