3 Ways to Make Sure Your Lawyer is Honest

In a paper for the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Frederick Miller stated that the lawyer’s role was to act as both an advocate and an officer for the courts. Moreover, Miller argued that the role of the attorney has to include the role of boosting public confidence in the inherent integrity of the judicial system. In times of need, there is no doubt that we all want to believe our lawyer is looking out for our best interest. Typically, we seek out the advice of an attorney only when we are at our very lowest, and their role as an advocate is to help us obtain the justice we seek. Unfortunately, there will be times that your attorney will be too dishonest to qualify as the type of advocate that you need. An honest lawyer will always display the following three signs.

1- Communicating With Their Client
In order to trust your attorney, you need to make sure that you can communicate with them. It may be a simple act of returning your phone call, but that act is a sign that your lawyer is one that you can trust. Lawyers who aren’t returning phone calls might be too busy attending other clients. They might be ignoring you entirely, or they may even be confused about how to proceed with your case. A simple way to not have to deal with any of these concerns is to not return your calls.

Another way to make sure that your lawyer is communicating well with you is through his responses to your emails. Just as is the case with unanswered calls, an unanswered email can be a sign of a lawyer who isn’t being completely honest with you. At the very least, this behavior demonstrates a lack of willingness to make your case his priority.

Other warning signs of potential ways in which an attorney may lack the communication necessary to be honest with you include a constant need to re-schedule, an inability or unwillingness to listen and a continual desire to ignore you when you ask a question. In general, if your lawyer is short or overly abrasive with you during conversations, you should steer clear. An honest lawyer will put the effort towards good communication, and a lawyer that seems annoyed with your presence is not putting the necessary effort forward.

2- Keeping an Eye on The Bill
Of course, most court cases are going to be expensive. However, a dishonest lawyer can easily start to cause your bill to increase beyond what it needs to be. The Huffington Post lists a number of ways an attorney can artificially increase the bill, including hiring unnecessary experts and delegating the case to multiple other people on the team. Put simply, an honest lawyer will not purposefully try to up the bill beyond your budget so that they can get paid more.

3- Doesn’t Promise That Your Case is a Slam Dunk
The idea of your lawyer promising that your case is a slam dunk sounds very promising, and might be a soothing comfort to your ears. But if a lawyer ever promises that your case is a “slam dunk,” that is a sure sign they are not being truthful. A lawyer simply cannot promise a “slam dunk,” because no such thing. Even a case that seems like a sure win is not a guaranteed case, and lawyers legally cannot promise you otherwise. In fact, promising you a win is a sure way to know that your attorney may be in trouble with the state bar association. In most cases, this information is readily publicly available and can be searched online. A trustworthy lawyer will be enthusiastic about your chances, but will not promise you a sure win.

Although popular culture loves to portray lawyers as untrustworthy, you need to be able to trust the person representing you in court. Communication, an ability to keep an eye on the bill, and a refusal to promise a sure-fire win are all signs that your attorney is trustworthy. However, if at any point you feel as though you cannot trust your lawyer, it may be time to consider getting new representation.

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