Red Flags to Avoid From a Law Firm
Selecting the right law firm when facing a serious legal matter is one of the most important tasks an individual will face. The prospects of winning or losing a case are directly affected by the quality of the legal team that is assembled. Not all lawyers are created equally and it is important that individuals in need of legal counsel seek an attorney or firm that will give them the best chance possible to gain a favorable outcome for their legal situation.
Identifying a good lawyer from one that is not so good is not always an easy thing to do. However, the chances of inadvertently choosing poor legal representation are decreased by a measurable degree when paying close attention to the following red flags.
1 - Appearance Of Office
One of the first things that will be noticed when consulting with a law firm is the appearance of the office or work premises. An office filled with clutter is a clear sign of disorganization and potential clients cannot be sure that the lawyer in question will provide efficient services in a confidential manner.
Perhaps it can be argued that some lawyers perform best in chaotic circumstances. However, the risk to the client of paperwork being lost or a deadline being missed is too great when dealing with a disorganized law firm.
An office space that shows obvious needs for repair is also a reason for concern as it could be an indication that the lawyer or firm is experiencing financial problems.
2 - Support Staff
A careful eye should be used to discern any signs of a strained relationship between a lawyer and the support staff working in the office. A lawyer who fails to treat staff in a respectable manner will create an environment filled with conflict and ill-will. The attorney that operates in this manner cannot be depended upon to respect the best interests of clients.
The presence of empty offices in the building should be noted as it can the result of a high turnover rate. This is a clear sign of disharmony in the firm. Employees that are satisfied with their employer remain in place and are more committed to a high level of achievement when performing job duties.
3 - Failure To Return Calls
A potential client that is having a difficult time getting a lawyer to answer the phone, or return calls that go unanswered, should perhaps consider selecting the lawyer to represent their legal interests. A lawyer that fails to keep the lines of communication open with clients could be overwhelmed by their present workload or possess inadequate time management skills.
In any event, an attorney or law firm that does not communicate with its clients is a poor selection for legal counsel.
4 - Attitude Issues
An attorney that displays a rude or flippant attitude when addressing potential clients could become a problem for the client if trusted with their case. Individuals in need of legal counsel should remember to take the word 'advocate' in a literal sense when comparing attorneys and only put their trust in a firm that shows a desire to fight on their behalf.
Any tension present between a client and his attorney could be disastrous for a legal proceeding. Clients should make sure that the lawyer they choose to work with has a personality that meshes with their own.
5 - Bold Promises
A competent attorney would never guarantee a specific outcome for any case. Lawyers that make bold proclamations that promise victory in a legal proceeding could be exhibiting manipulative behavior and should be avoided.
Likewise, an attorney that attempts to scare a potential client with possible consequences to ensure that they are chosen to handle a case is also a lawyer to eliminate from consideration as a legal representative.
6 - Poor Online Reputation
In today's internet age, information is a mouse click away regarding the level of satisfaction past customers have experienced when patronizing most businesses. There is no exception with the legal profession. When vetting lawyers, potential clients should take to the internet and read all reviews they can find on a particular firm.
It is important to remember that a reputable firm will have an occasional poor review if they are doing a lot of business. But if a number of less than favorable reviews are written on a single lawyer or firm this is definitely a red flag to consider.