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How long is too long to wait for an attorney to respond to a question?

Clackamas, OR |

I asked my attorney a very important question about a search warrant that had been issued against me. I asked this question via email 8 days ago and called 2 days ago to leave a message asking for a follow up. Since first asking my question, I've actually already discovered the answer to it on my own by reading the statues in my state. It's already evening and I have still heard nothing from my attorney. Is this acceptable?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Best answer

    Unless there are extenuating circumstances such as your attorney being in trial or be out of town on an emergency, eight days is, in my opinion, too long to wait for an answer. I would, however, follow up with your attorney to make sure your understanding of the law is accurate.


  2. Eight days is probably pushing it for a 'reasonable' response time; but that really depends on a few things, including how urgently a response is required for action.

    The most common complaint that clients have about their attorneys, I've heard, is that we don't communicate quickly enough. There are a couple possible reasons for this: First, some attorneys are desperately overworked (especially if they're public defenders); others may just be slackers. And second, some clients can be very demanding. Attorneys need to triage their work. You're certainly free to find another attorney who may be more responsive; but you should also give your lawyer a chance before you decide that they've failed you. Take your concerns to them directly. Attorneys are people too, after all.

    One more thing: Don't assume that the answer you found in the statutes is guaranteed to be comprehensive. Statutes have to be read in light of existing caselaw that may modify their meaning. This is especially true in criminal law, where the state keeps trying to expand its authority and defense lawyers have to keep asking the courts to push back. This is one of the reasons you want a lawyer handling these matters for you.

    Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: jay@northwestlawoffice.com | Online: www.northwestlawoffice.com


  3. There is no absolute time line response to this question. I will assume you have retained a private criminal defense attorney to represent you in criminal court. I further assume you have met with counsel in person, discussed the case in the first in-person meeting, then you paid him/her money as a retainer and that you have a professional relationship. Some clients are "high maintenance" and some are not; some lawyers are busier than others; some are in court most of the business day, some are not; some are more attentive to mail, email and calls than others, etc. You need to meet in person with your attorney, clear up any misunderstandings and agree on how future contacts will be handled. Some calls demand immediate attention, some do not. If satisfied, follow the agreements; if not, seek other counsel to represent you. Good luck.

    I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this response on the avvo website. I have not been retained to represent you. I am licensed to practice law in Kentucky and in federal court in this state and the Southern District of Indiana. You need to seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your area..


  4. When you do talk with your attorney your stated concerns need to be addressed satisfactorily. If your are not satisfied after a fair and open conversation, then you may well want to consider changing counsel. I would give your attorney a fair opportunity to respond to and address your concerns. Good luck.


  5. You know it can really vary as to when an attorney gets back to you at times. Its very frustrating for client to have to wait because it is your life and freedom on the line. This is by far the most common complaint that is lodged against attorney is that we don't communicate enough or quick enough.

    what I can tell you from experience is that we sometimes get busy and forget to return calls. Sometimes messages get lost or emails get deleted. What I tell my clients is that if you cannot reach me, call and set a telpehone conference with me. My staff will set any client for a telephone conference if asked. This will give them a guarateed time to speak with me about quetions.

    I am licensed to practice law in Oregon only. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact my office to schedule a consultation to discuss the facts of your case. Any comments made through Avvo are based on the very limited information provided and should not be construed as legal advice or the establishment of an attorney/client relationship.

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