Is it time to change attorneys?
At the prospect of divorce, panic typically sets in. You ask your friends and family for advice on their attorneys, vet them all very quickly and immediately hire the one you think is best. Typically this is accomplished in a flurry, during an extreme overwhelm of emotions-logic and thinking things through rarely play in your decision. The process gets started, motions get filed, things heat up and you begin to realize, you may have acted in haste-something isn’t sitting right with your attorney. It’s a difficult predicament because you’ve invested so much money and time already, the big issue is that you’re not getting what you hoped for in return.
A few signs you may have the wrong attorney:
- You have no idea where your case stands and have no idea what your attorney is doing.
- Your attorney is not responding within a reasonable time frame (24 hours), even if it’s simply to say when they will respond.
- You don’t feel heard or advocated for.
- You realize your attorney is just like the spouse you’re divorcing.
- You don’t understand your bills and your attorney isn’t forthcoming with explanations.
- Your attorney is bullying you.
If you’re feeling any of these, it’s time to have a conversation with your attorney. Some actions to take:
- Ask yourself: “Are my expectations realistic?” It may make sense to visit another attorney and see get a second opinion.
- Let your attorney know how you’re feeling.
- Set up a some reasonable check points. Weekly or daily during certain periods of high activity.
- Make sure your lawyer gives you a debrief after each meeting whether in court, or after a deposition or negotiation meeting.
- Communicate what you want as clearly as possible. Daily emails and calls ranting to your attorney about your soon-to-be ex is not going to make your attorney any better at his or her job. In fact, it may be the reason you’re not getting calls returned. Attorneys are trying to use all the facts they can, apply the appropriate legal interpretations and make the best possible case for you. If they’re constantly bombarded with superfluous information, it makes their jobs much harder.
Assuming you followed all these steps and find you’re still not feeling good about the relationship, it may be time to consider new counsel. Only you know what’s best for you. The benefits of moving may very well outweigh the cost of staying put.