Has it been a while since you heard from your attorney? Are they not returning your calls or providing you with updates? Does it seem like there is no progress being made on your case and you’ve been left entirely in the dark?
There is nothing more frustrating than when the attorney who seemed so nice and attentive during your initial consultation suddenly falls of the grid. Sure, the first meeting was great – you met, discussed your accident, talked about legal strategies and your rights as an injured victim – but now, nothing. What is going on?
If it seems like your attorney is unresponsive or actively ignoring you, here are a few things to consider.
Communication is an integral part of the client-attorney relationship and is absolutely necessary if you hope to achieve maximum compensation in your case. In fact, communication is so important that the American Bar Association includes it as one of the first entries in its Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
According to the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.4:
(a) A lawyer shall:
(1) Promptly inform the client of any decision or circumstance with respect to which the client’s informed consent, as defined in Rule 1.0(e), is required by these Rules;
(2) Reasonably consult with the client about the means by which the client’s objectives are to be accomplished;
(3) Keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter;
(4) Promptly comply with reasonable requests for information; and
(5) Consult with the client about any relevant limitation on the lawyer’s conduct when the lawyer knows that the client expects assistance not permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.
(b) A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.
While the language of the rule may seem straightforward, there is some nuance. For example, an attorney’s idea of what is “prompt” or “reasonable” may not be the same as a client’s. With that, here are some of the most common reasons your attorney may be communicating less frequently than usual.
IF you have called your attorney, left messages, sent emails, and have not heard a response, the best course of action is to send a certified letter to his or her office questioning the failure to communicate and informing them you are prepared to find a new lawyer if the situation does not improve.
Certified mail is a service provided by the United States Postal Service which provides the sender with a mailing receipt and electronic verification that the letter was delivered. It is commonly used by law firms as proof that a parcel, document, or article has been delivered, and your attorney will understand that they will not be able to pretend that they did not get your letter.
At this point, your attorney will likely respond by either being more communicative or saying that you are free to find new representation. If you and your attorney agree to continue your case together, you should also work out some basic communication protocols to prevent future issues. If you cannot, pay any outstanding bills, pick up your file, and find an attorney more willing to work with you.
If you are fed up with your attorney and do not feel they have your best interests in mind, consider contacting Thomas J. Henry Law. At our firm, client satisfaction is paramount. We have built a team of more than 200 experienced attorneys with hundreds of supporting staff members in order to ensure that there is always someone available to update you on your case.
If you become our client, we will take immediate action to ensure your case is moving forward ahead of any deadlines or statutes of limitation. If you are unable to travel to our offices to discuss your claim, we can send an attorney directly to you.