Can my lawyer refuse my requests?

When you hire someone to do a job for you, you expect them to carry out your requests. If your lawyer refuses to file an agreement or negotiate according to your preferences, is he or she overstepping their bounds?

Would a case like this be considered legal malpractice or simply a bad match? The answer depends on the circumstance…

When a lawyer’s refusal is OK

Because your lawyer has his or her own reputation to protect, they may be hesitant to allow you to enter into a deal that is unfair — even if the deal serves your advantage. In most cases, bad deals end in revisiting the issue in court again.

Likewise, if you suggest a negotiation tactic, the lawyer is not overstepping their bounds by advising you against it. After all, you hired the lawyer for his or her expertise and skill in the workings of the law. Your lawyer should be more interested in getting you the best outcome from your case than being agreeable.

When a lawyer’s refusal could be malpractice

The refusal of some request, however, do indicate legal malpractice. One such request is communication. You may have a case if your attorney is refusing to contact you back within a reasonable amount of time or update you on matters related to your case.

For example, a law firm was recently sued for failing to notify a client of a change in the attorney.

Another refusal from your lawyer you should not tolerate is one that seems to come of either of negligence or incompetence. This could happen, for example, if your lawyer refuses to collect evidence for your claim because he or she is too busy or is unsure how to go about collecting standard evidence.

Use your resources

It can be tougher than you would think to know if your lawyer is simply a bad match or actually mistreating you. Getting a second opinion from another attorney can help make sure you take action if need be before things get worse.

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