It can be frustrating dealing with an inefficient lawyer — particularly if you don’t know how to address the situation. Quack and incompetent lawyers typically give false hopes to their clients, who end up losing their cases. Research shows that most unqualified or incompetent lawyers cover their inadequacies with good public relations skills.
It’s important to ensure a prospective lawyer is fit to handle your case and deliver victory to you– but how can you achieve this? Competent lawyers offer a free legal consultation to allow clients to make informed decisions–fortunately, you can contact lawyers in Anchorage to simplify this process.
How to Deal with Legal Representation Challenges
Dealing with an inefficient lawyer can be tricky. However, you can use the following strategies to resolve legal representation challenges:
1. When Your Lawyer Won’t Communicate
A lawyer is considered to have violated the ethical obligations of attorneys although the validity of your complaint must first be determined by a bar association to determine. Filing a complaint through a bar association can be ineffective in the short term but a firm letter stating your concerns should get the lawyer’s attention.
You should draft the letter to your lawyer using respectful language to win their confidence and avoid complicating the situation further. For instance, you shouldn’t threaten to file legal action for a malpractice lawsuit or file a complaint with the bar association–threats will likely make the lawyer angry, disinterested, and defensive.
It’s important to suggest a remedial to your lawyer to iron out your differences if they’re still unresponsive to your letter. Poor communication skills shouldn’t be used as a ground to fire your lawyer– they could be experiencing challenges beyond their control. Besides, finding a competent lawyer in the middle of your case can impact the outcome of the case.
2. When a Lawyer is Dishonest or Grossly Incompetent
Gross incompetence can arise in certain scenarios, including:
- When your lawyer is dishonest;
- When a lawyer is not qualified –academically;
- When a lawyer has defrauds a client;
- When a lawyer makes critical decisions without consulting their clients, such as accepting an insurance offer without involving the client.
You have a right to be legally represented by a competent lawyer–meaning you can bring a malpractice claim against your attorney for gross incompetence or negligence.
3. File a Complaint with a Disciplinary Agency
All states have disciplinary agencies for rogue lawyers. The American bar association handles legal malpractice cases in some states while state supreme courts handle such cases in others. The common grievances that are addressed by disciplinary agencies include:
- Failure to submit settlement awards to clients;
- Grievous errors that can negatively impact a lawsuit, such as failing to appear in court;
- Failing to perform the expected duties;
- Indulging in criminal activities, such as defrauding the client;
- Drugs and alcohol abuse.
Unfortunately, pursuing a malpractice lawsuit through the disciplinary agencies can present various challenges, including:
- Addressing complaints slowly;
- Failing to conduct a thorough investigation when a claim is filed;
- Poor communication with victims of legal malpractice;
- Most agencies require several similar complaints against an attorney to initiate legal action.
4. Seeking Compensation
Bar associations and state supreme courts mainly punish undisciplined lawyers and do not compensate victims of legal malpractice. However, the majority of the states, excluding Maine, New Mexico, and Tennessee, have funds to compensate individuals who have been defrauded by their lawyers.
5. Requesting for Your File
A client should demand your file immediately after terminating the working relationship. Your file will help you know whether deadlines have been met, rectify mistakes, and allows the matter to move to a conclusion. Alternatively, you can get all the information about your case from the courthouse if the lawyer is uncooperative.
Your new lawyer or the state bar association can also assist you to get the file. The last resort can be filing legal action in a small claims court to compensate you for expenses incurred in redoing the file or getting the file.
If you’re not satisfied with your lawyer’s strategy decisions or with the arguments the lawyer has been making on your behalf, you may even want to go to the law library and do some reading to educate yourself about your legal problem.
7. Getting a Second Opinion
You can schedule a legal consultation with a new lawyer to get a second opinion on your case–a legal consultation for a second can be free or payable–depending on the new lawyer. A second opinion can be invaluable because it can help determine whether you should fire your current lawyer or hire someone equal to the task. The more details you share during a legal consultation, the better advice you’ll likely get to make an informed decision. It should be noted that second opinions are not comprehensive analyses and not cursory reviews.
It’s important to research widely before hiring a lawyer because pursuing legal malpractice cases is typically expensive. Also, ensure that a lawyer has a means or is capable of paying damages before filing a legal malpractice claim.