What to Do When Your Attorney Abandons You

when your attorney abandons you

If you hire a lawyer, it is crucial that they are readily available to answer your queries and return your calls promptly – failure to do so could constitute legal malpractice.

Failing to promptly respond to messages from clients can result in missed deadlines, settlement offers and other essential case details being overlooked. Here are some telltale signs your attorney might be deserting you:

1. They do not return your calls or emails

As soon as you retain an attorney, their duty is to respond quickly to calls and emails. While it is understandable that lawyers are busy managing multiple cases at once, they still must provide timely answers and keep you up-to-date on your case status.

If your lawyer does not return your call within an acceptable amount of time, first attempt to reach them by telephone; leave a message with receptionist/paralegal and ask to speak. It would also be wise to send a certified letter explaining why it has not responded; ask for return receipt so as to have proof it was received.

Some attorneys may use being “too busy” as an excuse not to respond immediately, however this violation of ethical duties and could lead to malpractice claims being lodged against them.

Attorneys who don’t communicate effectively with their clients risk missing important deadlines for case settlement or court appearances, leading to lost settlement money or missed court dates. If your current lawyer hasn’t responded after attempts at reaching them have been made, now may be the time to find one who will work harder on your behalf.

2. They do not communicate with you about your case

If your attorney is failing to return phone calls or keep you informed on the progress of your case, this can be extremely disconcerting. There could be several reasons for this to occur:

1. They Are Refusing to Follow Your Advice. It is essential that you remember that an attorney represents you, while ultimately it is up to you to pursue your claim. If you consistently challenge their recommendations or do not heed his advice, their communication may dwindle further as they shift focus onto managing the claim without you actively involved.

2. They Are Preoccupied. Lawyers typically have multiple cases on their docket, and must prioritize how they spend their time and attention. If another more profitable case comes along, he or she may not have time to devote to yours.

3. Their Caseload Is Too Heavy. It may also be possible that your attorney has an excessive caseload in his practice and cannot manage them effectively, creating an overwhelming situation for both client and attorney. While this can be challenging to manage, keep in mind that each client deserves to be represented adequately by your lawyer.

If you are unhappy with the lack of communication from your attorney, write them a letter explaining your grievances and send it by certified mail as proof that it was sent. If this still doesn’t help, perhaps it’s time to find another one?

3. They withdraw from your case

Attorneys typically need the judge’s permission in order to withdraw from a case, and provide valid reasons such as owing you more than they were paid, having conflicts of interests, or you not following their advice and instructions. However, if your attorney suddenly drops you mid case it’s essential you question why and make sure their reasons do not cause harm or discomfort to either party involved. If they provide valid responses then worry should be minimal.

If your attorney abandons you at a crucial stage in your case without providing representation, this could constitute legal malpractice. Furthermore, an attorney cannot drop you for engaging in fraud (for instance presenting false evidence under oath).

Your attorney should treat you fairly and with respect. If they don’t, consider getting another legal malpractice lawyer to represent your case instead. A competent legal malpractice attorney will help determine whether their actions constitute a breach of professional duties and can sue them on your behalf if that happens. If your rights have been compromised by your lawyer, get in touch with us so that we can discuss legal remedies available to you.

4. They do not return your phone calls or emails

No matter whether they are dodging calls, ignoring emails or text messages or simply lacking communication skills, if an attorney goes days, weeks or longer without responding it could be time to find another.

Attorneys are busy professionals with many clients to keep up with and a variety of work to complete, not to mention taking care of themselves and their personal matters outside the office. Just like anyone else, attorneys need sleep, food, friends and family visits as well as personal affairs taken care of – sometimes missing calls or not returning immediately due to attending court cases, depositions, events with judges or just working on cases at hand.

Failure of attorneys to return calls or emails can be extremely disconcerting as you’re left without information on the status of your case. Furthermore, such failure could delay legal proceedings by forcing hearing dates back, potentially impacting how the judge views them.

If your attorney is ignoring you, try calling their office and speaking with someone other than their attorney such as a receptionist or paralegal. Inform them of your attempts to reach them and request an explanation; if this fails, write your attorney a letter explaining that numerous attempts have been made but no response was given; make sure it’s sent certified mail with return receipt request so you have evidence of your efforts.