With as many lawyer jokes as there are flying around, it’s no secret that attorneys sometimes suffer a mixed reputation in the wider community. Two predominate factors contribute mightily to this perception: First, there’s the fact that attorney services are extremely expensive and can involve lots of money, a fact that most people expect; but second, and perhaps more importantly, the work that lawyers do is difficult, esoteric, and complex, and therefore hard for the average layperson to understand.
So, between the large amounts of money that changes hands through lawyers, and the knowledge gap between lawyers and their clients, there really are abundant opportunities for deceptive lawyers to take advantage of their clients. While my experience of the profession is that most of us are honorable and strive to provide exceptional value, there are definitely lawyers out there who will exploit these opportunities to their own clients’ detriment.
How can you protect yourself from these bad barristers? First, ask your attorney to explain the costs of representation to you in great detail. There are a wide variety of fee agreements out there, and a good lawyer will take the time to make sure you fully understand the agreement you have with her or him. Moreover, a good lawyer will at least give you some idea of the costs, duration, and complications that your legal matter could entail. Now, often times high-stakes litigation is highly variable and definitely unpredictable; however, a good lawyer will know this and disclose it to you.
If anything your lawyer says makes you uneasy, if the costs come as a surprise to you, or even if you feel like your legal matter is going nowhere, this could indicate that your lawyer is not looking out for you. This will especially be true if it becomes apparent to you that the costs of your legal matter don’t appear to be worth the results you’re getting.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re getting top quality representation is to explore the market: Bring your case to another attorney, let them know that you have questions about your current representation, and ask for a second opinion.
Here at Asheville Legal, some of our most difficult cases have landed with us because other attorneys either weren’t equipped to handle them or were not taking good care of their clients. If you have a civil litigation or business matter and want to know if you’re getting the diligent representation you deserve, give us a call today. Moreover, if we believe your current lawyer is doing a good job, we will let you know and advise you to keep that lawyer.