Get a Second Opinion

Posted over 4 years ago. Applies to New York, 2 helpful votes

Email

1

This is your gut telling you that something just doesn't feel right.

We all have that instinct built in to us. But more often than not, when dealing with lawyers, people just simply sit back and be quiet. I understand why. The reason you go to an attorney is because of their vast knowledge, experience and of course education. Sometimes it doesn't make it any better when you go into their office and there is a "wall of fame" - the wall with all the special diplomas, awards, and certificates. But I am here to tell you that you have to overcome your fears.

2

Step 1: You are paying your lawyer, so use him/her..

All too often people forget that they are in charge of their case. It is similar to many other business relationships. The client is the customer, and the attorney is the store. Instead of selling cars, paperclips, or bikes, attorneys sell services. You are entitled to use every drop of your attorney's knowledge, experience and education. If they are not responding to you in a way that you expect, it may be that something is wrong.

3

Step 2: Your attorney wants you to be satisfied

Remember the best source of advertisement is a happy client. The worse source of advertisement is an unhappy client. Although some attorneys are unsavory characters, most are generally good people, looking to do a good job. But we too are human. Tell your attorney your concerns. If he/she can't rectify your situation, it is time to tell your attorney that you want a second opinion from a neutral party. He may be taken aback. But a good lawyer will tell you that it is your right. Remember he is working for your best interests (not the other way around!).

4

Step 3: Actually consult another attorney

Sometimes clients say things like "we're going to get another opinion" and then chicken out at the last minute. Sometimes, they feel so guilty or ashamed that they are willing to ruin or worsen their own recovery to avoid having to go through with it. The problem is, you are still not satisfied.

5

Step 4: Maybe it will help to hear what another attorney might say - The second opinion

There are usually a few things that an attorney might say on a second opinion. 1) Your first attorney was right. - That's the simplest of all answers. You have a second opinion which will satisfy your needs, and you can feel comfortable continuing to use him. Doing a second opinion is a routing part of the practice of law and if the second lawyer doesn't get the case (because you chose to stay with the first lawyer), it is customary to be charged a fee for the attorney's time (see their per hour rates for a better idea). 2) Your first attorney was dead wrong - This too is a no-brainer. You are already firing your first attorney. If you choose to go with the second attorney, then he/she can help with terminating the other attorney. You won't even have to call or speak with anyone from their office (a lot of people feel they owe them sometihing emotionally - but you do not).

6

Continued...

Your new attorney will work out the legal fee arrangements as well as obtain a list of any expenses/disbursements. 3) Your first attorney could be right/could be wrong - or the second attorney needs more info. - This is a grey area, but not a killer. You can provide the second attorney more information. You can decide to just stick it out with your first attorney. Or you can even get a third opinion (again with added cost). Depending on the size of your claim/lawsuit, it may be economically smart to get added opiniong. No matter what - running through theses steps should at least leave you feeling satisfied and in more control of the situation.

7

You're the boss

The client is the boss of the relationship. You have the right to hire/fire your attorney at will under most circumstances. You have the right to be respected, and to be understood. You have the right to have things explained to you in English and not Legalese. As the boss there is one more thing that can be said. You don't even have to tell your employee (the first attorney) that you are getting a second opinion. If you were the manager of a Supermarket,, would you ask the cashier's opinion if you should interview another cashier. Not likely - unless you needed some info from them. Even then, you do not have to explain yourself. Stay confident and you will get to the heart of the problem. Best of luck.

8

LEGAL DISCLAIMER:

THE ABOVE GUIDE AND ANY SUPPLEMENTAL GUIDES ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE OR ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP IS CREATED BY THIS GUIDE OR ANY OTHER RESPONSES THERETO. FOR LEGAL ADVICE, PLEASE CONSULT AN ATTORNEY.

Additional Resources

Client's Rights

Client's Responsibilities

Rate this guide

Related Questions

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

27,093 answers this week

2,850 attorneys answering