You may think finding an attorney would be easy, and you may be wondering why an attorney didn’t respond or take your case. Don’t they need the money? Don’t they want to help people? Was it me?
The answers to those questions are: Not necessarily. Yes. And probably.
Truthfully, attorneys often don’t respond to clients let alone take cases because their professional instincts tell them the client isn’t really ready to work with an attorney. From our conversations with attorneys, we’ve compiled a list of actions that may cause an attorney to not respond to your case.
Just Fishing for Answers
Attorneys are generally happy to provide answers to legal questions for prospective clients. But, but they are selective about which they answer. They want to ensure a prospective client is interested in actually ready to work with an attorney. Sure, the attorney needs to give the potential client some ideas about how to address the potential matter. However, they want to ensure the client isn’t just fishing for answers. From your initial message to them, they want to know that you’re interested in moving forward with them and not just using them for their knowledge.
Many law firms have developed screening processes to confirm that an individual is serious. There are even chatbots built into some law practice websites that evaluate you as a prospective client. So, as you contact attorneys, be honest with yourself. Are you ready to hire? Make sure the attorneys you contact now you are ready.
If you come off as demanding and rude, trust us, you won't get as many responses. As the saying goes, start as you wish to finish. So, be respectful and understanding. We aren't saying you should change who you are - that's worse! But remember this is teamwork. You are picking your team. You are hiring a professional So be prepared to treat them that way.
Just like you, attorneys are busy. They do their best to respond to you as soon as possible. Be prepared to treat them with the same respect. So, make sure phone calls and emails are returned when you can. Don’t wait days later or not at all, make sure you aren’t using a thankless tone in your responses, make sure your expectations for messages and responses respect an attorney’s personal life and business hours.
Communicate with your attorney like you would other professionals in your life, like doctors, accountants, and even your boss. The sum of an attorney-client relationship is communication and the exchange of information. How you communicate at the start sets the tone for how you and your attorney will proceed.
Inconsistent Details in Your Story
In ABC’s political thriller Scandal, Olivia Pope, a lawyer and revered crisis manager, has one rule for her clients: Do not lie. And if they lie, she always finds out.
As a client, you’ll probably have to recount the story of your legal matter several times before you’re even an attorney’s official client. If the specifics (even the tiny, seemingly innocuous or inconsequential details) are inconsistent, your attorney may question the matter. Without your honesty and specificity, your attorney cannot do their job. So you need to think carefully about your commitment to your legal matter, or you may be the one hindering it--and placing yourself back on the hunt for an attorney.
A lot goes into what informs an attorney’s decision to take you on as a client. Often times, though, these actions can put an attorney off to you. So the first step is to be honest with yourself. Are you ready to hire an attorney? Are you prepared to work with your chosen attorney and pay all related fees? To find out more, check out our Attributes to Look For In An Attorney paper. Add your client profile and start looking for your attorney, today.