We receive frequent inquiries from the clients of other law firms who are unhappy with their legal representation. There can be a variety of catalysts for this, but invariably there is one overarching reason: poor communication on the part of their lawyer.
If a client does not have a proper understanding of their legal proceedings it is always the fault of their legal representatives. It is no excuse for a lawyer to blame their client for being unsophisticated or difficult to contact. The lawyer’s role is to appropriately advise their client and to act on the client’s instructions. The client cannot properly instruct their lawyer unless they are both fully informed and understand the strengths and weaknesses of their case.
In the area of personal injury law it is common for new clients to have little understanding of the compensation and litigation process. It is rare that you will be unfortunate enough to require the services of a personal injury lawyer. It is likely that this will be the only time in your life that you will go through this process. It should be expected that a new client will have little to no idea about what is involved.
If your lawyer is a poor communicator or you have difficulty understanding the claims process, you are entitled to demand an explanation. If your lawyer cannot explain your case to you in simple, understandable terms it may be that he or she does not have a proper grasp of your case. In these circumstances, you are entitled to consider: has your lawyer sufficiently familiarised him or herself with your case? Do they have sufficient experience in the area of law to properly advise you? If your answer to either of these questions is in the negative you should consider speaking to a different lawyer.
Speaking to a different lawyer is not the same as changing representation. You are entitled to discuss your case and the possibility of transferring your file to a different lawyer without making any commitment.
The process of transferring your file from one lawyer to another is usually an easy transition, which is conducted entirely by your new legal representative. You will usually be required to sign a document authorising your new lawyer to request your file. He or she will then take the required steps to request and obtain the file.
If you feel as though you or somebody you care about is receiving inadequate legal representation, it’s never too late to change. For more information and to arrange a no-obligation assessment of your claim, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800, or alternatively make an online enquiry.
Written by Alexander Morrison.