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What to Do if Your Attorney Isn’t Meeting Expectations

When you hire an attorney, you expect them to provide you with competent and effective legal representation. However, there may be instances where your attorney fails to meet your expectations. Whether it’s a lack of communication, missed deadlines, or a general lack of effort, it can be frustrating and concerning when your attorney isn’t meeting expectations.

1. Communicate Your Concerns

The first step in addressing any issues with your attorney is to communicate your concerns. Schedule a meeting or phone call to discuss your expectations and the areas where you feel your attorney is falling short. Be specific about your concerns and provide examples to support your claims. It’s important to approach the conversation in a calm and professional manner, as this will increase the likelihood of a productive discussion.

During the meeting, listen to your attorney’s perspective and ask for their input on how to improve the situation. They may have valid reasons for their actions or lack thereof. By engaging in open and honest communication, you can work towards finding a resolution that satisfies both parties.

2. Seek a Second Opinion

If your concerns persist after discussing them with your attorney, it may be beneficial to seek a second opinion. Consulting with another attorney can provide you with a fresh perspective on your case and help you determine if your current attorney is truly falling short.

When seeking a second opinion, be sure to provide the new attorney with all relevant information about your case. This will allow them to assess the situation accurately and provide you with informed advice. Additionally, ask the new attorney about their experience and track record in handling similar cases. This will help you gauge their expertise and credibility.

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Before taking any further action, review your legal agreement with your current attorney. Pay close attention to the terms and conditions outlined in the agreement, including the scope of representation, fees, and termination provisions. Understanding your rights and obligations under the agreement will help you make informed decisions moving forward.

If you believe your attorney has breached the terms of the agreement, consult with another attorney or legal professional to determine the best course of action. They can advise you on whether you have grounds for a legal malpractice claim or if you should consider filing a complaint with the appropriate regulatory body.

4. Consider Mediation or Arbitration

If your attorney isn’t meeting expectations but you don’t want to sever the relationship entirely, you may consider mediation or arbitration. These alternative dispute resolution methods can help facilitate a conversation between you and your attorney with the assistance of a neutral third party.

Mediation involves a mediator who helps facilitate communication and negotiation between you and your attorney. The goal is to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution without going to court. Arbitration, on the other hand, involves a neutral arbitrator who listens to both sides and makes a binding decision.

Both mediation and arbitration can be less formal and costly than litigation. They provide an opportunity for you and your attorney to address your concerns and work towards a resolution in a more collaborative manner.

If all else fails and your attorney’s actions or inactions have caused you significant harm, you may need to seek legal malpractice representation. Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney breaches their duty of care to their client, resulting in damages.

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To pursue a legal malpractice claim, you will need to prove four elements:

  • Duty: You had an attorney-client relationship with the attorney in question.
  • Breach: The attorney breached their duty of care by acting negligently or failing to act when they should have.
  • Causation: The attorney’s breach of duty caused you harm or resulted in damages.
  • Damages: You suffered actual damages as a result of the attorney’s actions or inactions.

Consult with an experienced legal malpractice attorney to assess the strength of your case and determine the best course of action. They can guide you through the legal process and help you seek compensation for any losses you have incurred due to your attorney’s negligence.


When your attorney isn’t meeting expectations, it’s important to address the issue promptly and effectively. By communicating your concerns, seeking a second opinion, reviewing your legal agreement, considering mediation or arbitration, and, if necessary, seeking legal malpractice representation, you can take steps towards resolving the situation.

Remember, not all instances of dissatisfaction with your attorney will rise to the level of legal malpractice. However, it’s crucial to advocate for yourself and seek the best possible legal representation to protect your rights and interests.

By being proactive and assertive, you can navigate the challenges of a disappointing attorney-client relationship and work towards a resolution that meets your needs.

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