What is the talk? Well sometimes it starts with “It’s not you, it’s me” but it usually ends with the client picking up the file and going to a new lawyer. There is an old saying in the divorce world that is people tend to hire lawyers like themselves. It’s not always true, but more often than not it is. But before you “fire” your lawyer, you owe it to yourself to talk to them, to tell them your concerns or problems. We are not mind readers and sometimes we makes mistakes.*
So, why then would you want to talk to your lawyer?
You’re not happy
Don’t just sit and stew, if you are not happy and I mean 100% happy with your divorce lawyer, call and tell them! Let me give you an example, I recently had a divorce case that was bordering on nasty, a long term marriage that ended with alimony and my client receiving a large property settlement. My client would email me a few times a day, I would usually ask her to call me when she could or I would respond to the email when I had a chance, usually a few hours later. I thought everything was great. We settled the case and I asked her to fill out a short survey where she expressed her utter dissatisfaction with two things. 1) The time it took to respond to emails. You see, she was in business and apparently in business people get back to each other within the hour usually within just a few minutes. I didn’t recognize that as a problem. The other issue was 2) Me asking her to call me. I didn’t like spending the time typing (I’m a slow typer!) long and complex emails, so instead when I got her email, I would ask her to call me back. She hated that, but didn’t tell me until the case was over. The moral of this is if she would have told me she would have been much happier and probably less stressed during the process.
You Don’t Understand What Is Going On
It’s important that you, the client, understand what is going on in your case. You need to know why the lawyer is doing what they are doing and you need to know the next step in the process. If you don’t you’ll get anxious and probably be unhappy with the way the lawyer is handling your case. Don’t be afraid to ask! Send an e-mail or call, but if you don’t express your confusion you can’t always expect your lawyer to read your mind.
You’re Concerned About The Bill
If you are confused or unaware of certain charges, ask! If you don’t know what you are being billed for don’t to shy you need to ask. Probably more important than that is you need to be aware of the costs coming at you in your case. If you scraped together every last dime for the retainer and you’re lawyer tells you that trial is in a month and you need $5,000, tell them! I will tell you personally I feel much more comfortable when a client tells me about the financial situation then being surprised. I (and many other) family lawyers in Minnesota will work out payment arrangement if we now about the situation beforehand.
There you go, if you talk to your lawyer about these items and you are not satisfied with the answer, it might be time to find a new lawyer. Don’t be embarrassed about “firing” your lawyer, there is usually no ill will and it happens to the best of us.
*DISCLAIMER: In no way does this constitute an admission by Attorney Kohlmeyer or any member of the Rosengren Kohlmeyer Law Firm that they have made, will ever make, or are making a legal mistake. This is not an admission of liability and is used solely for illustrative purposes!
Any Comments or questions feel free to call Jason Kohlmeyer at 507-625-5000 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org