If you have hired a lawyer to represent you in a legal matter, you expect them to act in your best interests and protect your rights. However, not all lawyers are trustworthy or ethical, and some may even betray your trust for their own benefit or due to conflicts of interest. This can have serious consequences for your case and your future.
But how can you tell if your lawyer is selling you out? What are the signs that your lawyer is not loyal to you or your cause? And what can you do if you suspect that your lawyer is betraying you?
Don’t worry, if you have the above questions on your mind here we will answer these questions and provide you with some tips and advice on how to deal with a lawyer who is selling you out. We will cover the following topics:
- What are the legal obligations of a lawyer to their client?
- What are the common reasons why a lawyer may sell out their client?
- What are the red flags that indicate that your lawyer is selling you out?
- What are the steps you can take to protect yourself and your case if your lawyer is selling you out?
- How can you find a reliable and trustworthy lawyer?
What are the legal obligations of a lawyer to their client?
A lawyer has a fiduciary duty to their client, which means that they have a legal and ethical obligation to act in the best interests of their client and to avoid any conflicts of interest that may compromise their loyalty or integrity. He also has a duty of confidentiality, which means that they must keep the information and communications between them and their client secret and not disclose them to anyone without the client’s consent or unless required by law.
A lawyer also has a duty of competence, which means that they must have the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to handle the client’s case and to provide them with quality legal services.
These duties are not only moral and professional but also enforceable by law. A lawyer who breaches any of these duties may face disciplinary action by the state bar association, civil liability for malpractice, or criminal charges for fraud or perjury.
What are the common reasons why a lawyer may sell out their client?
There are various reasons why a lawyer may sell out their client, but they usually fall into two categories: personal gain or conflicts of interest.
Personal gain refers to situations where a lawyer benefits from betraying their client, such as by receiving money, favors, or other incentives from the opposing party, or by avoiding liability, sanctions, or reputation damage for themselves or their firm For example, a lawyer may sell out their client by:
- Revealing confidential information to the other side or to a third party
- Negotiating a settlement that favors the other side or that is lower than what the client deserves
- Sabotaging the client’s case by withholding evidence, making errors, or missing deadlines
- Colluding with the other side or the judge to influence the outcome of the case
Conflicts of interest refer to situations where a lawyer has a personal or professional relationship or interest that interferes with their loyalty or objectivity towards their client. For example, a lawyer may sell out their client by:
- Representing another client who has adverse or competing interests with the current client
- Having a personal or financial stake in the outcome of the case
- Having a family, friendship, or romantic relationship with the other party, their lawyer, or the judge
- Having a political, ideological, or religious affiliation that affects their judgment or advocacy
What are the red flags that indicate that your lawyer is selling you out?
It can be hard to detect if your lawyer is selling you out, especially if they are subtle or secretive about their actions. However, there are some warning signs that you should watch out for, such as:
- Lack of communication: Your lawyer does not respond to your calls, emails, or messages, or they are always too busy or unavailable to talk to you. They do not keep you updated on the progress of your case or inform you of any important developments or decisions.
- Lack of transparency: Your lawyer does not provide you with clear and accurate information about your case, such as the costs, fees, risks, or options. They do not explain their strategy or reasoning to you or ask for your input or consent. They do not share the documents, evidence, or correspondence related to your case with you.
- Lack of competence: Your lawyer does not seem to have the necessary knowledge, skills, or experience to handle your case. They make mistakes, miss deadlines, or fail to follow the rules or procedures. They do not prepare you or your witnesses for the hearings or the trial. They do not present your case effectively or persuasively.
- Lack of advocacy: Your lawyer does not seem to care about your case or your interests. They do not fight for your rights or your goals. They pressure you to accept a settlement that is not in your favor or that you are not comfortable with. They do not challenge the other side’s arguments or evidence. They do not object to any unfair or improper actions by the other party, their lawyer, or the judge.
What are the steps you can take to protect yourself and your case if your lawyer is selling you out?
If you suspect that your lawyer is selling you out, you should not ignore or tolerate it. You should take immediate action to protect yourself and your case, such as:
- Document everything: You should keep a record of all the communications and transactions between you and your lawyer, as well as any evidence or documents related to your case. You should also note down any incidents or behaviors that raise your suspicion or concern. This will help you to prove your allegations or claims if you decide to file a complaint or a lawsuit against your lawyer.
- Confront your lawyer: You should confront your lawyer and ask them to explain their actions or decisions. You should also express your dissatisfaction or disagreement with their performance or conduct. You should give them a chance to respond or to correct their mistakes, but you should also be firm and assertive about your expectations and demands.
- Seek a second opinion: You should consult another lawyer who specializes in the same area of law as your case and who has no connection or conflict with your current lawyer. You should ask them to review your case and to give you their honest and professional opinion. You should also ask them to advise you on your options and the best course of action for your case.
- Fire your lawyer: If you are not satisfied or comfortable with your lawyer’s explanation or response, or if you have lost your trust or confidence in them, you should fire them and hire a new lawyer. You should notify your lawyer in writing that you are terminating their services and that you are requesting a copy of your file and a refund of any fees or expenses that you have paid. You should also notify the court and the other party that you have changed your lawyer and that you need some time to adjust to the transition.
- Report your lawyer: If you believe that your lawyer has violated their legal or ethical obligations, you should report them to the state bar association or the disciplinary board that regulates the lawyers in your state. You should provide them with the details and the evidence of your lawyer’s misconduct and request an investigation and a sanction. You may also file a malpractice lawsuit against your lawyer if you have suffered any damages or losses as a result of their negligence or breach of duty.
How can you find a reliable and trustworthy lawyer?
Finding a reliable and trustworthy lawyer is not easy, but it is not impossible either. You should do some research and due diligence before hiring a lawyer, such as:
- Ask for referrals: You should ask your friends, family, colleagues, or acquaintances who have had similar legal issues or cases as yours for recommendations. You should also ask them about their experience and satisfaction with their lawyers and whether they would hire them again or not.
- Check the credentials: You should check the credentials and qualifications of the lawyers you are considering, such as their education, training, license, specialization, experience, reputation, and track record. You should also check their ratings, reviews, testimonials, or feedback from their previous or current clients. You should also check if they have any complaints, disciplinary actions, or malpractice claims against them.
- Interview the candidates: You should interview the candidates and ask them questions about their background, expertise, approach, fees, and availability. You should also ask them about your case and how they would handle it. You should also observe their personality, attitude, and communication skills. You should choose a lawyer who is knowledgeable, competent, confident, honest, respectful, and responsive.
Hiring a lawyer is a critical decision that can affect the outcome of your case and your future. Therefore, you should be careful and cautious when choosing a lawyer and when working with them.
You should be aware of the signs that your lawyer may be selling you out and take action to protect yourself and your case if you suspect any betrayal. You should also do your homework and find a reliable and trustworthy lawyer who will represent your best interests and protect your rights.