What To Do When Your Attorney Ignores You?
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What To Do When Your Attorney Ignores You
What should you do when your attorney is ignoring you?
You had a legal issue, met with an attorney and ultimately hired the person.
However, your attorney appears to be ignoring you or does not respond to your queries at some point in time.
What’s going on?
In some cases, it can merely be because there was no specific advancement in your file so there was nothing to report and in other cases it may be a bad sign.
Let’s look at possible reasons why your lawyer is not communicating with you.
What Are The Reasons
Here are some reasons why your attorney may not be communicating with you:
- There are no specific deadlines in your file
- There has been no activity in your file
- Your lawyer is attending to other cases
- Your attorney does not have the time to talk
- Your lawyer is dealing with personal issues
- You are not an actual client
- Your attorney does not believe that you will take his or her advice
- Your attorney is disorganized
- Your attorney is not promptly sharing good or bad news
Attorney’s Professional Obligation
Every attorney is bound by rules of professional conduct.
In the United States, the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct states that attorneys must maintain prompt communication with their clients.
In summary, the Model Rules state that an attorney must:
- Promptly inform the client of any circumstances that may affect the case or require the client’s consent
- Consult the client on the means to achieve the case objectives
- Ensure the client is informed and is made aware of important case events
- Your attorney must respond to reasonable information requests
- Your attorney must inform you of any possible limitations or conduct not permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct
The challenge in many cases is that your views of what’s “prompt” and the attorney’s view of “prompt” may not be the same.
What’s important is that there are no long periods without any communication.
Even if nothing is happening in the case, it’s reassuring to know that your attorney takes a bit of time to reach out to you so say it’s normal that nothing is going on.
On the other hand, attorneys are possible very busy and must attend to many clients.
Their attention must be divided between many clients and it may not be possible to speak to your lawyer whenever you feel like it or at times solely based on your schedule.
There’s a little bit of give and take.
What Should You Do
If you have tried to reach out to your lawyer and you are being ignored, that’s not a good sign.
Your emails are left unanswered and your phone messages are not returned.
If you have serious reasons to believe that your attorney is utterly not getting back to you and is purposely avoiding all communications with you, it may be important to find other ways to reach out to him or her.
Perhaps you want to speak to your attorney’s assistant or the reception desk.
You may want to visit him or her at the office eventually.
Eventually, you may want to send your attorney a letter or find another colleague or partner at the office to get some information.
Eventually, if you are able to find your attorney, you’ll understand whether you were being ignored on purpose or maybe there was a valid reason for the lack of communication.
It may be a good time to define certain baselines regarding your communication to avoid future similar situations.
If you discover that your attorney was purposely ignoring you and the relationship cannot be continued, it may be time to end the relationship with this specific attorney.
In this case, look at your retainer agreement to see the applicable mechanism to terminate the attorney’s mandate.
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