I've called my lawyer numerous times over the last several months and cannot get a return call except from a secretary or paralegal.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of salt in this regard. When you hire a lawyer to represent you make sure you are doing just that. Generally, you will be asked to enter into an Agreement with the lawyer which will include what fees and services will be provided. In addition, the lawyer, or law firm, will ask you to provide one, if not more, contact numbers where you can be reached. It is common for lawyers to also ask you to immediately contact them and provide updated contact information if you move or change phone numbers.
You should do the same. Most importantly, the Agreement should expressly name the lawyer that will be representing you and providing legal services. If it does not, you should ask that it does. Even though the Agreement may be with ABC law firm, a law firm is a legal entity and not a lawyer. A good and reputable law firm should identify, in the Agreement, the lawyer that will be representing you. Make sure you ASK THE NAME of the lawyer.
Ask for a second or third means of directly contacting the lawyer you are considering hiring.
Many lawyers will, and should, provide you with their EMAIL address, CELL PHONE number, and the name of a SECOND PERSON in the law firm that can help you if they are not available. As one example, this can be important if you have hired a lawyer to represent you in an injury claim and you are receiving direct calls from the insurance company for the opposing party.
If you have just suffered a loss of a loved one or are going through difficult times, it may be important to have someone with you that you trust to help you think carefully through a decision that could impact the rest of your life, and possibly others if an Estate is involved. This is why it is important to UNDERSTAND AND KNOW THE LAWYER and not simply the ABC law firm that employs that lawyer, advertising on TV or the Yellow Pages.
Of course, be reasonable in your expectations as well. Among the many daily emergencies lawyers have to handle, sometimes it is impossible to immediately call a client back or respond to a question. FOR EXAMPLE, THE LAWYER MAY BE IN TRIAL ON ANOTHER CASE.
However, if you find yourself in a situation where you cannot get any response after repeatedly calling or are not able to get a call back from the lawyer that you hired, you are within you rights to consider terminating the relationship and seeking another attorney. However, it is important to be mindful that each situation is different and YOU SHOULD FIRST ALWAYS TRY TO WORK WITH YOUR LAWYER to understand why you have not been getting a call back as there may be good reason such as family death, medical emergencies, or other legal emergencies which have required your attorneys' full attention. If your case is already been filed in Court it MAY EVEN BE MORE CRITICAL THAT YOU FIRST ATTEMPT TO UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM.
Additional resources provided by the author
Recently, Courts have been posting on-line docket information about active cases pending in their Court. If you have a case that has been filed in a state Court, you may be able to access and keep track of the events of you case from your home computer. Some Courts will even scan legal documents filed by the lawyers which will allow you to read and keep up-to-date with your case and allow you find out what is going on with your case without calling your lawyer.
In general, if you case has been filed, your first step should be to contact your lawyer, or the law firm, and ask the NAME OF THE COURT your lawsuit was filed. Then you can call the "CLERK OF COURTS," and ask for the internet web address to search pending cases. As You will then be prompted to enter either the name of the primary plaintiff or the case number. Your lawyer, or the law firm, should be able to provide you with the case number if you don't have it.