Knowing when a continuance is warranted

The common school of thought amongst many in Florida is that working with an attorney on any legal matter is going to cost you a lot of money. Yet the cost of legal assistance is typically more dependent on the time it takes to resolve your case rather than the fees your attorney charges. People often come to us here at St. Denis & Davey PA wondering why their cases are languishing (and if such delays are normal). If you are involved in a lengthy legal matter, it may be easy to assume that your attorney is simply trying to drag the process out to collect more money. 

It goes without saying that such a practice is unethical and against legal standards. Indeed, according to Rule 3.2 of the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct, your attorney is charged with doing everything possible to expedite your legal proceedings (with your best interests in mind). Yet while they cannot intentionally delay your case, they are also charged with providing you with the best representation possible. Hurrying through your case may not allow for that. 

The secret to knowing whether your attorney is purposely delaying your case as opposed to legitimately lengthening it is understanding when requests for more time are reasonable. Scenarios where your attorney needs to be afforded a continuance may include: 

  • Needing more time to prepare for trial
  • Changes to the nature of your case
  • Coordinating with new counsel
  • Surprise testimony or evidence presented by the opposing party

Regardless of the nature of the need for a continuance to your case, you should always be heavily involved in the decision to allow for more time. You can learn more about this and other potential legal malpractice issues by continuing to explore our site. 

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