Why No Attorney Will Take Your Case

I often get calls from people that are stunned, just stunned that no attorney will take their case.  I've heard that more than ever this summer so I thought I'd come up with a list of reasons you might have trouble getting an attorney.

1. If it's the type of case where you have to pay a lawyer such as a divorce or DUI, the number one reason an attorney won't take your case is that you can't afford their fee.  "But what about justice?" or "What about the safety of my child?" is something I often hear.  Honest answer is that attorneys are business people and while they want to help, they are more concerned about their pay and keeping the lights on.

2. You have been through a bunch of lawyers already.  One attorney will usually take over from another, but when you are asking them to be the 5th or 6th attorney, it's a red flag that you are a problem client.  That's doubly true when you tell them that you are reporting the previous lawyers to the discipline board.  Of course you have a right to do that, but that will scare many lawyers off.


4. Your case isn't great.  In 10+ years of doing this, not once has a caller who contacted me and said, "I know I have a great case" actually had a great case.  If the lawyer doesn't think he can win, especially on a malpractice or injury case where they only get paid if they win.

5. Your case isn't easy.  Especially in family law where many attorneys are just burned out, you'll find that some attorneys just aren't looking for a battle.  We see this a lot with older attorneys too that spend half their time in Florida or Arizona and have no interest in going to war for the client.

Of course their are plenty of other reasons, one of which is you are just having bad luck or calling the wrong people.  So don't give up until someone gives you an honest explanation of why they won't help you instead of some b.s. like "I'm too busy." 

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  • Good points. Three from my years of doing plaintiff's injury work: (1) You're not really injured, either physically (in ways other than those that you treat by visiting a chiropractor) or financially (especially missed work days), and therefore it will be too difficult to put together a damages claim. Unfortunately, "I could have been killed!" isn't worth much for your case, if you were only put through a big scare; (2) You're obviously attorney-shopping -- a client who constantly asks, "Really, how much do you think you can get me for this case?" is most likely going from attorney to attorney, trying to find the highest bidder. This is obviously not the way to choose an attorney -- as my boss would say, you're not going to get the best attorney, you're going to get the biggest liar; (3) You tell the attorney, "I figured if the lady got 10 million dollars [or some other exorbitant number] for burning herself with the coffee at McDonald's, I thought I'd see how much I can get." See #1 above.

  • In reply to DonnyTheJ:

    All true and great points. If I had a dollar for every time I heard "I could have been killed" I wouldn't be rich, but could certainly treat myself to an amazing meal. And on point #2, I'm sure you often hear, "I'm not worried about the money, but can you just tell me what it's worth?" I've lost many clients b/c I gave the honest answer of, "There's no way to tell you this early on in the case." I've also had a lot of calls from unhappy people who hired an attorney that promised something they can't deliver.

  • In reply to DonnyTheJ:

    um, just 'cause one can be treated by a chiro, doesn't mean one is "not injured." ever have a back injury? it effs you up for life. and i've been there, thanks to a jerk of a cab driver who was too busy yapping on his cell phone to not care that he slammed into me.

  • In reply to MareSwallow:

    Oh, definitely about back injuries. I think what he meant was that injuries that can be *resolved* by chiropractic treatments don't add up to great amounts of damages for a personal injury claim. But, of course, back and neck injuries can be terribly painful, and certainly permanent and disabling. I'm sorry that you are suffering.

  • "their are plenty of other reasons..."

    sigh. proofreader, anyone?

    otherwise, really good post. thanks.

  • In reply to MareSwallow:

    Bloggers don't get proofreaders. Their are many reasons I screwed that up, mostly because I was rushing. Me do gooder next time.

  • Lawyers also won't take 'tainted' cases. If you've ticked off a judge, the lawyer isn't going to take your case because taking your case means every time that lawyer steps in front of that judge every new client picks up your baggage.

    Lawyers prefer to play the road of court toadies; not people who buck the system or who make waves.

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