The most frequent complaint made against lawyers in general, and divorce lawyers in particular, is their failure to respond to their client’s phone calls or emails. Understandably, divorce clients are under a lot of emotional and, sometimes, financial pressure. They want to be reassured or, at least, hear the explanations that their attorneys may have concerning their concerns and/or complaints regarding their former spouse or other individuals. However, there is often a legitimate reason why your divorce attorney may not be immediately seeking you out after you have telephoned or emailed him or her. Those reasons may include:
- Your divorce attorney is, at that moment, working on something more important. Your family law lawyer may be involved in a hearing, deposition, or dealing with an emergency issue that another client may have. Although, it may be hard for some clients to believe, the divorce lawyer does have other cases and those cases often may, on occasion, have emergencies which are far more serious than the concerns, fears or needs you may want to express;
- There is nothing new to tell you. Sometimes, clients don’t realize that there may be no new development in their cases which needs to be discussed. Your attorney will notify you if and when something new of importance happens in your case. You also need to recognize that most cases have periods of intense activity which are punctuated by other periods of time of little or no activity. Remember, that if all your financial and other discovery has been completed and you are waiting for a trial date, then it may be some weeks or months before anything new happens in your case;
- You are not the client. Divorce is an emotional time in your life. It is not unusual for your parents, brothers and sisters, and other family members to become involved. However, they are not your attorney’s client. Consequently, your attorney has no duty to respond to their inquiries. In most circumstances, your attorney will also be prohibited from communicating any confidential information to your family members, unless you specifically authorize him or her to do so;
- You do not listen. With some people, it doesn’t matter how many times something is explained to them; they continue to ask the same questions over and over. There are many reasons for this, including they do not like the earlier answers that they received from their divorce attorney. They think that if they repeat the question numerous times, at some point, the answer will change into something they want to hear. If you have been told the same answer a dozen times already, maybe it is because it really is the answer;
- You talk too much. Some clients act as if their attorney has unlimited time and attention to devote to them and to their case (although these same people often complain when they later see the bill for such lengthy conversations). Lawyers are busy. Like you, divorce/family law attorneys only have a limited number of hours that they can devote to work each day. Divorce attorneys quickly learn which clients can be efficient and which ones seem to engage in lengthy never ending conversations. If you know how to get to the point and get an answer and move on, your attorney is more likely to return your phone calls than he or she would be in the event that your call is guaranteed to go on for ever and ever. Consequently, monitor yourself and make sure that you are not a time hog;
- Your lawyer has issues. Surprisingly, few people do much research before hiring a divorce attorney. This lack of diligence works well for those attorneys with substance abuse issues, mental health problems, a poor work ethic, or other problems in their personal or professional lives. Statistics show that divorce lawyers suffer significantly from alcoholism, substance abuse, and depression than does the general population. In fact, lawyers suffer the highest rate of substance abuse of any profession. You may have hired a fantastic family law attorney, who is swamped with work, or you may have hired an alcoholic lawyer who is too inebriated to speak with you right now.
The above are some reasons why your divorce attorney may not be responding to your phone calls, texts, or emails. However, sometimes lawyers fail to appropriately manage their clients’ expectations. At our law firm, we provide to our client a “Welcome” packet. This provides the ground rules of how the parties and our law office will communicate with each other during the course of our representation. This simple document appropriately addresses client’s expectations regarding communications between the law firm and the client. Consequently, clients’ phone calls are being responded to promptly, within the ground rules, and alternatively to the ground rules set forth in our client manual.
Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. If your attorney is not responding to your phone calls or emails and if you are expecting to go to trial in your divorce case, then immediately contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. or call 561-478-0312 to schedule a consultation.