When you hire an attorney in New Jersey, you likely expect them to “work for their money.” After all, you are likely paying thousands of dollars for their advice, expertise and representation. You want to ensure they are using the hours they are charging you for effectively in an effort to win the case for you. Of course, this is not always easy to gauge.
If you feel your attorney is slacking, you have a few options. One of the most important things you can do is have another lawyer also examine your case and what your current attorney has done thus far. You can request your case file from your attorney and present it to a third party, who can determine whether you are getting your money’s worth or not. Communicate with your current attorney and relay your concerns so they know you are aware of what’s going on.
Next, look at your bill. A lazy or shady attorney will just put a lump sum down, expecting you to pay. If they worked 30 hours on your case at a rate of $600 an hour, they should have a detailed list of where that $18,000 worth of work went. When they do send you the list, scour it for anything out of the ordinary. For instance, if they charged for a two-hour deposition when you know it only took one hour, this could be a careless clerical error — or it could be classified as fraud.
If your attorney is ripping you off, you may be able to sue for legal malpractice. Before you pay your bill, it may be beneficial to speak with an experienced litigation attorney who can examine the details of your representation and give you advice on how to proceed.