Thursday, February 12, 2009

If You Don't Agree with Your Attorney

When you are working with an attorney to resolve a legal issue, trust and communication are essential to maintain a healthy and productive relationship. Even with those elements present, there can be problems between the client and an attorney. Sometimes there are disagreements between the two and the relationship becomes strained. What can you do about this?

1. Have a discussion. Sometimes the attorney-client relationship is generally fine, but a small problem or disagreement comes up. If it's important to you, talk to your attorney about it. It could be a simple misunderstanding which can be easily fixed. On the other hand, it could be a sign of a major problem and you shouldn't put off dealing with it. Don't let your concern fester and build up. Please address it early on so it can be resolved in some fashion.

2. Get a second opinion. Consult another professional. Most attorneys will not talk with you while you are represented by another attorney, but there may be some things you can discuss with a CPA, a counselor or some other professional. You can research some issues, but there are a lot of limitations and pitfalls involved if you do your own research on the Internet, so I hesitate to suggest it.

3. Change attorneys. There are plenty of attorneys around. If you are unhappy with the job your attorney is doing, it is probably better for both you and your attorney for you to change attorneys. You may have a quality attorney, but there just may not be a good chemistry. Just because the attorney worked well with a friend of yours doesn't mean that the attorney will work well with you. Different personalities may not blend into an effective working relationship. Sometimes communication styles aren't as comfortable for one person as they may be for another. Just change attorneys so that you are satisfied. By the way, an attorney may want to terminate a representation relationship for the same reasons.

The main message here is to take some action and address any issues that concern you. Give your attorney a chance to explain the situation or learn of your concerns. If all else fails, go ahead and make a change before you or your attorney go too far.

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