Lawyers are service providers. Fact. If you engage a lawyer to service your business, start up, whatever, you are doing the right thing. For it is said that “a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for his client”. In an ideal world the power should be with you, the client, however, unfortunately, not all lawyers are like me (passionate about progressing you and your dreams) they are more interested in er …fees, thus compounding that awful image that lawyers are greedy. So here are a few pointers on how to spot if your lawyer is not putting YOU first and may just be all about the fees.
1 You have to chase for an update
You should never have to chase for an update. A good lawyer will keep you regularly informed about the work he or she is doing for you. Obviously this is within reason but the updates should be regular in the context of the service you have paid for. E.g. “Hey Bob just a quick email to let you know that we have submitted your application…Hey Bob, we have received confirmation of receipt of your application… Hey Bob, your application has been accepted.”
2 You are presented with the unexpected – frequently
No one can foresee everything, that’s impossible BUT a good lawyer will have anticipated damn near all the risks! He or she will not only have communicated these risks to you, he or she will have factored them in to your agreed fee structure, i.e. “Hey Bob if this curve ball is thrown at us, this would likely happen and our fees would increase by X amount”. If you are frequently being told to pay a bit more because something has come up, this could be a sign that your lawyer is not thinking about the bigger picture for you.
3 You don’t understand what’s going on
This is a no brainer. A good lawyer wants you to understand how they are helping you. If you are confused your lawyer may be trying to squeeze a few extra pounds out of you by keeping you in the dark.
4 You only get bad news
Sometimes your legal situation might just be a bit rubbish but generally your lawyer should be coming up with solutions or alternatives. If you are paying for continuous bad news I would query why you were advised to embark on your pursuit in the first place. For example, advancing a bad claim or defending a good one.
5 You are not offered other services
A truly fantastic lawyer will be thinking what else he or she can offer to help you achieve more? Your lawyer should be suggesting other bespoke services for you such as seminars or even referring you to a specialist firm that can help you with a niche problem.
If you think you have a bad lawyer, raise your concerns with them and give them a chance to improve. They’re probably stressed out on lots of other work and your queries may help them to refocus on client quality!
Let me know what you think below and please share!