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Why Lawyers Reject Your Case, Part 3: Actually, It’s You

DADvocacy™ | July 10, 2022

You have visited two different law offices, explained your facts truthfully each time…and walked out empty-handed.  Now what?

Two different lawyers rejected your case. You’re not feeling optimistic about your prospects.

Why do lawyers keep rejecting your case?

Each lawyer may have a different reason from the other lawyer. Each might have more than one reason for declining your case.

The reasons may be exclusive relevant to the legal merits of your case, or the reasons may be pertinent to something about the law firm itself.  The reasons might not have anything to do with you.

Or maybe the reasons have everything to do with you.

The list below outlines the most common reasons that family law attorneys decline cases because the prospective client brings the follow issues:

1. You are not emotionally committed to your proposed course of action.

During your initial consultation with the attorney, you may display signs of ambivalence about pursuing divorce.

A decent lawyer will not accept a case to which you are not committed, especially when divorce can harm both your physical and mental health, not to mention the impact on other family members’ daily lives.

Or you may indicate a desire for more time with your children under a revised timesharing plan, yet your intense work schedule shows no change to accommodate the children’s needs.  An attorney may not find value in taking a case for a timesharing revision just to have your children live with a babysitter. That type of case does not prioritize the welfare of the children.

2. Your motive is revenge.

 Lawyers accept family law cases with the welfare of the children as the priority.

If your behavior and statements indicate that you only want to make your ex miserable, the lawyer knows that the object of your vengeance is also the mother of your children, who will inevitably feel the trickle-down burn of your actions.

Understandably, a lawyer may decline the opportunity to play a part, and any attorney may wonder if your anger will, in time, be re-directed at the law firm if you can’t dictate events as you wish. On that note…

3. You did not pay your previous lawyer as agreed.

An unpaid bill is not an issue simply between you and your former attorney. It’s also an issue for prospective lawyers as well because they can see a “notice of charging lien” against you from your unpaid previous attorney.

The Florida Bar Ethics Department explains a charging lien:

 The charging lien may be asserted when a client owes the lawyer for fees or costs in connection with a specific matter in which a suit has been filed. To impose a charging lien, the lawyer must show: (1) a contract between lawyer and client; (2) an understanding for payment of attorney’s fees out of the recovery; (3) either an avoidance of payment or a dispute regarding the amount of fees; and (4) timely notice.

A prospective lawyer may reject your case out of fear over your ability and/or willingness to pay your bill.

 4. Your behavior toward members of the law firm was inappropriate.

When you are interviewing an attorney to see if you wish to retain the firm, you are simultaneously being interviewed by the attorney, who also has discretion in whether to continue the relationship with you or not.

If verbal abuse comes easily to you, how will the attorney effectively defend you in court if you are prone to outbursts?  Your character is on trial at every hearing, which in turns determines whether the decision-maker views you and your credibility favorably.

If your temper flares toward any member of the law firm at just the introductory phase, what will happen when orders and final judgments are filed?  Will you turn the same attitude toward the law firm that can’t change your history?

5. You have a significant history of changing lawyers, and now you’re shopping for the next one.

If your history reveals a tendency to fire attorneys and then lawyer shop when the legal tide turns against you, the next attorney might not want to be part of the parade.

Perhaps your expectations are unrealistic about the merits of your case in that you believe your position has strengths that it does not.  No lawyer is going to totally beat certain facts and make all the problems go away.  Not every legal decision will make you happy.  If the lawyers can see this blind spot in your vision, then they may be cutting their losses – and yours – early.

6. You reveal yourself as a difficult person.

 If your initial contacts with the firm and its employees cause stress to all involved, they will be concerned about engaging you as a client. When even the most even-keeled law firm employees are on edge in handling your communications, there is a problem – with you and within you.

We’re not talking about overt rudeness here (see #3 above).  We’re talking about demanding behavior, condescending behavior and the like.  Remember that law firms are not like bus stops: they don’t have to pick you up.

 7. You can’t pay the fee.

If you cannot pay for services, the lawyer cannot work on your case. It’s that simple, unless you have secured a pro bono arrangement with terms codified in a signed, dated writing.

Different attorneys charge different rates. You may have to search for an attorney based on your budget.  Be upfront about those realities.  Decide whether you can handle accepting a loan to pay for legal services. Decide how much self-help is reasonable, and how much consultation you’ll need from an attorney.

This financial concern is pronounced in cases that have multiple challenges, including a large number of disputed assets. There is no timeline for the resolution if both sides keep arguing. The price tag for services increases as the case goes on.

When an attorney is not paid for services, the lawyer is entitled to withdraw from your case, which can make your already difficult situation even harder.

While you search for the right attorney, the DADvocacy™ Law Firm reminds you to document interactions through an app, such as Talking Parents, and to maintain a low profile on social media.

This blog post is part of the DADvocacy™ Law Firm’s series, “Why Lawyers Reject Your Case.” Visit our other posts to enhance your legal savvy and to understand how a lawyer thinks through case consultations:

If you believe that a dedicated fathers’ law firm is the right one for you, please talk with us. Our approach is rooted in our commitment to advocacy

Our Florida fathers’ rights lawyers know that most dads are facing an uphill legal battle when pulled into a divorce. Family law courts historically rule out of favor of men due to preexisting social biases…. [W] believe in a fair and balanced legal process that protects and upholds the rights of divorcing fathers, not shuns them.

As a service to dads, the DADvocacy™ Law Firm offers free resources in our DIY Toolshed. While such resources can never substitute for the services of a licensed attorney, they can help you to familiarize yourself with the legal process.

Warning: All posts on this website and partner website, JustPrenups.com, contain general information about legal matters for broad educational purposes only. The information is not legal advice, and should not be treated as such. This blog post does not create any attorney-client relationship between the reader and the DADvocacy™ Law Firm.

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Family Law

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