How to deal when you disagree with your attorney


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – When you hire an attorney you enter into what is called an attorney-client relationship.  The law offers protection for all clients who retain an attorney against having their personal information spread beyond the attorney’s office.  Because of the intensely personal and intimate information involved in family law matters it is a protection that gives the client peace of mind and allows them to fully disclose any information that is important to their case.

Emotions and stress levels run high so when clients become disgruntled with their attorney or feel that they are not performing their job well many will complain to third parties, usually parents or family members and friends.  It is normal to seek support while going through an emotional and tumultuous event such as a divorce. However, it is not a good idea to bring third parties into the relationship between you and your attorney.  It is a professional relationship between adults that needs to be treated as such.  Should your parent or friend decide to intervene on your behalf and contact your attorney they will be clearly told that the attorney may not speak to them about your case due to attorney-client privilege.  Even if your parents are paying for your attorney, they are not the client and are not privy to your personal information, including billing questions.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are unhappy with your attorney for any reason, you need to calmly ask for a meeting where you can sit down and air your concerns.  Listen carefully and objectively to your attorney’s response and determine whether you did not understand what was occurring and misunderstood or whether you have a legitimate complaint. Remember that your attorney is your advocate and you are paying them for their knowledge of the law, the workings of the court and their experience handling similar cases.  Sometimes they are simply trying to guide you to the best outcome due to circumstances, including conversations with the opposing counsel and the judge. If you cannot iron out your differences you have the right to terminate your relationship and hire new counsel. (You are, however, legally responsible to pay for services rendered up to that point.)

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