You retain an attorney to help you with a family law matter. You send emails that don’t get answered. You make calls that don’t get returned. You have a feeling in your gut that you are being forgotten or that your matter is not being giving the attention it deserves. As an attorney myself, I will tell you: trust your instincts.
Remember that the attorney client relationship is one of trust and confidence. You should have trust and confidence in your attorney: that you are being heard and that your interests are being protected. Your attorney has to have trust and confidence in you as well: that you are being forthcoming and responsive so that your attorney can represent you to the best of her ability. But you should also remember that while your attorney is your advocate, you are your own best advocate.
There has been a story in the recent news that a St. Louis attorney named Jeffrey Witt has disappeared and cannot be found. No one knows whether his disappearance is voluntary or whether he is the victim of some serious misfortune. Why that story is sad and shocking, perhaps even more shocking to those of us in the legal world, is that many of Mr. Witt’s clients had their cases dismissed, had warrants issued for their arrest, had pleadings not filed, or had court appearances not attended by Mr. Witt, and are now suffering as a result. I can only imagine that clients stayed with Mr. Witt because they wanted to believe he would do the right thing by them, but I also have to imagine that in their gut, the clients may have had a feeling that all was not right with the representation they were receiving because they were not receiving any communication at all.
As your own best advocate you should call or email your attorney when you have questions and you should expect a response in a timely manner. An immediate response may not be possible but hearing something within 24-48 hours is not only reasonable but should be expected. Remember that it is always in your best interest to stay informed of your case, and it is just as much in your best interest to seek new counsel if you are unsatisfied with your representation. We at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. hold ourselves to this standard, and expect that our clients hold us to this standard as well.