Say you are having a property dispute with a neighbor or suing a trucking company that injured you. Naturally, you want the most favorable outcome, so you decide to have an attorney help with your case.
You had a good feeling about your representative at first, but now you wonder what is going on. They aren’t answering your calls and even missed a critical in-person appointment. Is something wrong with your lawyer or are they incompetent?
What are some indicators of incompetence?
Since you are probably not a legal professional, you might not be aware of possible incompetency at first. To help you figure out what is going on with your lawyer, look for these indicators of possible incompetence.
- Cannot keep up with requests for information
- Dismisses questions or concerns without addressing them
- Chronically tardy or does not show up at all
- Frequently misses filing and other deadlines
- Appears intoxicated during meetings
- Makes vital decisions without speaking with you first
When a trusted legal professional fails you or abandons you in the middle of your problem, you can feel extremely betrayed. It may be hard for you to trust another attorney, but you must overcome that if you still need representation.
How can you move forward?
If your counsel is handling your case in a sloppy or unprofessional manner, you have the right to terminate your association.
Do not hesitate to seek another lawyer for guidance in resolving your current legal issue. Those substantially harmed (loss of the case) by an incompetent attorney may also seek restitution in a legal malpractice claim. However, you must prove that they acted negligently to prevail.