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23 Jul 16

what if my attorney won’t return my calls?

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What if my Attorney Won’t Return my Calls?

Many people complain that their attorney won’t return phone calls in a timely fashion. While this is frustrating, it not usually a cause for alarm nor a good reason to fire your attorney. In most cases, lawyers do eventually return phone calls and the case proceeds as it should. However, there are some situations in which a failure to return a phone call may present a real risk to your legal case. In such situations, finding a new lawyer may be your best option.

Reasons Why Lawyers Don’t Return Calls

Legal professionals are often very busy and have an obligation to manage their time carefully. Throughout the day, an attorney may be in court or meetings and are unable to answer their phone or make calls. These scheduling conflicts can cause delays in responses to your phone messages. Keep in mind that lawyers do need to take time off, so don’t expect your lawyer to contact you during weekends, holidays or after business hours

Another reason why a lawyer may not return your call is that you haven’t been specific in your phone messages about the information that you need. For example, many cases move along very slowly. If you call and leave a message asking for “any updates” and there is nothing to report, the attorney may not prioritize your call. Leaving a brief, but specific, message is respectful of your lawyer’s time and allows him or her to prepare an accurate answer to your inquiry.

In addition to providing a carefully worded message, it is also important to provide accurate contact information when you leave messages. Don’t assume that your lawyer can identify you via caller ID or by your name. Include your full name and your phone number with each message that you leave.

In some cases, however, a lawyer may not return your calls because he or she is disorganized or unprofessional. Working with such an attorney can be very frustrating and in some cases indicate that he or she is incapable of effectively representing you in court.

What to Do When Your Lawyer Doesn’t Respond to Calls

Before getting upset, call your lawyer’s office and asked to speak to his or her assistant or paralegal. He or she can let you know if the lawyer has received your message, is in the middle of a trial, or on vacation. In many cases, the paralegal can also answer your questions about the status of your case, eliminating the need to speak to your lawyer.

If you aren’t able to get satisfactory results from the paralegal, or your lawyer does not have a paralegal, send a friendly email. In the email, explain that you have been trying to reach him or her but of been unable to do so. Avoid threats or accusations: You don’t want to create friction between yourself and your attorney.

Give your lawyer a reasonable amount of time to respond to your correspondence. If more than a couple of days go by after you send an email with no response, you may wish to consider severing your relationship and finding a new attorney. While this can be a costly and time-consuming decision, it may be in your best interest to do so.

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