What Can I Do If My Lawyer Is Not Doing His Job?

Juliet D'cruz

Updated on:


You hired an attorney hoping to get justice – but, to your dismay, he has proven ineffective and is not doing his job. You have given him all the relevant details. You have been very patient and understanding, but now you don’t know what else to do.

Let’s be honest, before hiring a lawyer, you probably searched online for lawyers in your area and read what people said about them in their testimonials on their website. And most human beings trust their friends’ recommendations more than any advertising. Keystone Law Firm has experienced attorneys who find solutions to your problems. Read on to learn what you can do if your attorney is not doing their job. 

Consider Mediation

Mediation is where two parties in dispute come together and try to settle their case without going to court. 

First, talk to your lawyer and tell them that you are unhappy with how the case is going. Then write down everything bothering you so they can see how serious this issue is for you. After that, ask if they could meet with someone with experience with mediation. It will help them understand how it works and what needs to be done to get the best outcome for everyone involved in your case (including yourself).

If mediation does not work for you, you will have to hire a new lawyer to mediate disputes between clients and lawyers.

Mediation is an extremely effective way of solving legal problems—states now require it for certain kinds of cases. If your lawyer isn’t willing or able to help you solve your lawsuit, mediation may be the best option for you!

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Consider Arbitration

If you don’t like how your lawyer handles things, consider arbitration instead of taking legal action against them directly. Arbitration means that a neutral third party will decide who wins and loses in your case, rather than having a judge make that decision for you. It could help prevent litigation between you and your lawyer in the future if they didn’t agree on compensation or other aspects of the case during arbitration proceedings themselves.

Arbitration is a less formal method of dispute resolution. It can be very useful if both parties decide that arbitration would work best for them rather than going through a long trial process with many expenses for each party involved in the case (such as fees for legal representation).

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File Formal Complaint

You can do a few things if you feel your lawyer has not done his job. First, file a formal complaint with the bar association in your state. It will be documented and might result in an investigation into the matter.

If it is discovered that your lawyer has acted improperly, he may be subject to disciplinary action by the bar association. If it happens, you will receive an email so that you can make any decisions about how to proceed.

If these options don’t work out for you, you can file an internal complaint with your firm’s management team. Many firms have internal grievance procedures and train their employees to use them effectively to resolve problems without going through formal channels like the Bar Association or the AGB.

Fire the Lawyer

It is an extreme measure, but it’s possible if your situation is so bad that you can’t get any other help and want to try something new. If this is the case, tell your lawyer that you’re considering firing them and ask them to confirm that they understand this. Then follow up with them as soon as possible to ensure they understand what’s happening and how they feel about it.

If You Sue A Lawyer for Failing to Do His Job, What Happens?

If you sue your attorney in civil court, there are two possible outcomes:

  • Your attorney will defend themselves against your claim and win the case. You could end up with nothing. Your attorney will also be able to recover their costs from you if they are successful.
  • You could win back money spent on legal fees and other expenses when defending yourself against the lawsuit from your attorney.

The only way out of this situation would be if there were some contract between the two parties that set up the relationship as one of employment, but no such agreement exists here. If a contract or agreement does exist, and your attorney fails to fulfill their duties as outlined in your agreement, you may be able to sue them for breach of contract.

If you want to hold a lawyer accountable for their actions, you must take legal action against them in small claims or trial-level courts (usually county courts).

How Do You Know the Lawyer Is Not Doing His Job?

There are many ways to tell if a lawyer is not doing his job. 

  • Ask about their experience with the specific case you are hiring them for. If the lawyer doesn’t know anything about your case, then there’s a good chance they aren’t as up-to-date with the law as they should be. 
  • If your lawyer says he’s going to do something for you but doesn’t, that’s a sign that he isn’t interested in helping you or taking care of your case.
  • If he doesn’t show up when he’s supposed to appear in court or at other meetings, it can mean that he’s not reliable or trustworthy—or even worse: that he doesn’t care enough about your case to show up on time.
  • They don’t return your calls or emails within a reasonable time, even though they promised to do so. They might not have the time to do this because they are too busy working on other cases and projects for you.

If your lawyer can’t return your calls or emails, charges you hidden fees, or takes too long to handle critical legal matters. Then you should file an ethics complaint and report them to the State Bar. Do not be afraid to let your lawyer know what your opinion is (even if they’re a stranger). They work for you. But even if they cannot fix the problem, they will certainly appreciate you being straightforward and allowing them to know what your concerns are.

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