When you first contacted your lawyer, you felt like it was a good fit. They had experience with the type of case you wanted to start. They talked to you on the phone, set up an appointment and met you in person. They seemed kind and knowledgeable. You had a good feeling about the relationship moving forward.
That lasted for about a week. Then you started running into serious communication issues.
First, you had some questions and tried to call. The lawyer never answered. You left a voicemail, but they never called back. You even sent a text message. You can see in the window that they read the message on their phone, but they still did not answer it.
After that, you knew that some important deadlines were coming up. Your lawyer was supposed to file paperwork by the deadline. Did they do it? You had no idea. They didn’t update you. For all you knew, they forgot about your case entirely. Again, you tried calls, texts and email messages. Your email got a standard response claiming they would get back to you soon, but they never did.
Is this just how it is?
What you started asking yourself is if this is just how it goes when working with a lawyer. This is your first case. Maybe they treat all of their clients like this. Should you feel worried?
Here’s the reality: Your lawyer needs to do a far better job of communicating with you. Most experts note that 24 hours is plenty. You should never wait longer for an answer. If they ignore you and never answer, they are simply not giving you the legal service that you deserve.
Life happens. Maybe the lawyer got in a car accident. Maybe you forgot that they went on vacation, even though they told you. Maybe they got a new number and you missed the memo or they forgot to tell you.
Generally speaking, though, it should never take this long. It’s a serious breach of their duty to you. How can you possibly expect the best results from your case if you can’t talk to your legal team? How can you expect to avoid major mistakes — like missing a critical deadline — if you can’t check up on the progress? It’s more than just an annoyance; this lack of communication can seriously impact your chances of winning the case at all.
If this happens to you, your lawyer may have committed legal malpractice. They offered you a service and did not provide it. That can cost you in many ways. Make sure you understand the legal options you have in New York and what steps to take.