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Should I Cheat on My Attorney and Get a Second Opinion?

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on May 05, 2015 10:56 AM

You already know when and why you need a lawyer, but how do you know you've hired the right one? We talk about getting second opinions all the time in the medical context, but what about in the legal context?

The legal profession is like any other: there are some great lawyers out there, many good ones, and, unfortunately, a few bad ones mixed in. So here are a few signals that might indicate it's time to get a second opinion from another attorney:

Areas of Expertise

We always look to our friends for help, and there are a lot of good reasons to hire a friend as your lawyer. But there are also some reasons not to. One of those reasons is your friend's practice area, and whether it relates at all to your legal needs.

Almost all attorneys focus their practice in one area -- immigration, tax, family, criminal, etc. -- the law is far too complex these days to be an expert in everything. So you might want to think twice about your friend the divorce lawyer representing you in your DUI trial.

No doubt your friend is diligent and an excellent attorney in his field. But the skills and experience necessary to be great at divorce law are not always the same as being a great criminal trial attorney. So if you get the sense your attorney is out of his depth, you might want to talk to someone else.

Attention & Empathy

Any attorney you hire will have other clients, and will likely be very busy. That said, all attorneys have an ethical duty to:

  • Promptly inform you of any decision or circumstance with respect to which your informed consent is required;
  • Reasonably consult with you about the means by which your objectives are to be accomplished;
  • Keep you reasonably informed about the status of the matter; and
  • Promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.

While your attorney isn't required to be at your every beck and call, she should keep you well informed on your case and respond to your legitimate questions and concerns. If your attorney is unresponsive or unconcerned with your case, you might want to look into hiring someone else.

If you think you might need a second legal opinion, FindLaw's directory can provide contact information for attorneys experienced in an array of practice areas all over the country.

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