Did you know that one of the top reasons attorneys are complained about to the bar is because of poor communication? It’s no secret that clients like yourself don’t want to feel ignored. Even if it’s just to say that there have been no changes, you want to hear from your attorney regularly throughout the case.
Failing to communicate can set up a feeling of distrust, and that can lead to issues down the line. As a client, you might feel that your attorney is lying or trying to cover up errors, or you could feel that they just don’t care about your case.
What are some things a good attorney will do?
Signs of good communication show how willing an attorney is to handle your case and how confident they are in it. Your attorney should:
- Be responsive and respond to you within a reasonable amount of time. Even if it’s a simple call to respond and say they got your email or call but need more time to respond to your concerns, that responsiveness matters. Many attorneys give a timeline of how long it will take for them to respond to you. In general, a few business days should be long enough, but it helps to discuss your attorney’s specific communication guidelines when you decide to work with them.
- Make an attempt to reach out to you if an initial communication attempt fails. Perhaps an email went into the spam folder, or maybe you forgot to call your attorney back. It’s their job to make sure they’re reaching out to you and keeping you updated on your case.
- Offer follow-up communication as a way to confirm what you spoke about. Whether that’s an email that summarizes your discussion or a letter to go over your talks, this kind of follow-up reconfirms that your attorney is taking steps to be as communicative as possible.
It’s not always easy to know if your attorney will be communicative prior to hiring them. However, when you speak with them the first time, you should be clear about your expectations. They should also be clear about what they do and do not do in terms of communication, so you have the right expectations before you work together.
If you find that your attorney has missed deadlines, failed to inform you of court dates or simply won’t return your calls, then you may want to start looking into what constitutes legal malpractice.