You’ve probably heard the saying: “The most expensive purchase you’ll ever make is a cheap lawyer.” While there are some incredible pro-bono attorneys out there, there’s some truth behind this coined phrase. Whether you’re facing Houston DWI charges or sorting out DWI probation, it’s absolutely critical that you can spot the signs of a bad lawyer, and fast.

When your future is being gambled, the last thing you need is an incompetent attorney playing games with your livelihood. Don’t be fooled by shortsighted charm, there are some tell-tale signs of a lousy lawyer. If you’re wondering, “How do I know if my lawyer sucks?”, here are the first things you should be looking at.

5. No One Seems to Respect Them

Law may not be a popularity contest, but when it comes to fighting a case in court, respect matters. Here’s the first sign of a bad lawyer: If it seems like your attorney isn’t well endorsed by peers (both and in and outside of the courthouse), this could be a bad sign for how they will perform during your trial.

A lawyer who can barely engage with courthouse employees is going to have a real hard time influencing a court against an aggressive prosecutor. If you get bad vibes from your lawyer, chances are the jury will too.

4. Lack of Enthusiasm for Your Case

Winning over a jury means presenting a thoughtful case with logic and conviction. If your lawyer seems unenthusiastic or wishy-washy when they’re speaking to you, imagine how a jury is going to react to them presenting your case. Remember, you are your lawyer’s customer — if they cannot inspire you to believe in what they’re selling, and they don’t appear to be doing their job, you have the right to stop the transaction and ask for something better.

On the flip side, another sign of a bad lawyer might be an over-confident lawyer who is constantly over selling. A professional lawyer would make sure you are prepared for the good, bad and ugliest of scenarios. Don’t fall for someone who is always telling you what you want to hear. There’s a chance that this lawyer is either not considering all of the odds or is keeping something from you.

3. Unethical/Illegal Behavior

This may be one of the most dangerous signs of a bad lawyer. Balancing good judgment and ill advice will always be a challenge for many people. If your lawyer ever advises you to lie or break the law, fire this person immediately.

Getting caught in a lie directly or via a called witness would be extremely harmful to your case — even if it was all directed by this lawyer. When this happens, best case scenario is that a mistrial is declared with the attorney getting disbarred. Worst case? Both you and the attorney getting charged with perjury with defense tanked. Either way, the illegal route is never the right way to win in the court of law.

2. Sketchy Billing

Be careful of the value of what you’re paying for. With respect to frugal choices, it’s easy to get sucked into cheap defense and get undesired results. That said, watch even closer for lawyers out to bleed you dry.

If you see fees that don’t make sense, aren’t accurate or that your lawyer can’t clearly articulate what you’re being charged for, you have every reason to fire them and hire new counsel.

1. Unreturned Phone Calls

Your lawyer should be available to answer your questions and inform you of new developments in your case. While it is perfectly understandable for your lawyer to miss an occasional call or not be able to answer a message immediately, it is not OK for them to ignore you altogether.

You are paying for their expertise and time. If this isn’t what you are receiving, then they aren’t giving you the best service possible.

The Signs of a Good Lawyer

As you’ve been reading this, perhaps you’re wondering, “I can tell my lawyer sucks, but how can I spot the signs of a good lawyer?” Here are five signs you’re dealing with a lawyer you can trust:

  1. Responsive to your needs: a lawyer that is available for your questions, and proactively updates you on case developments
  2. Transparent in decisions: a lawyer that readily provides both the detail and “why” behind each decision and fee.
  3. Beyond reproach with the law: you should never have the slightest doubt your lawyer is working against the law. Instead, your lawyer should be able to demonstrate your rights, the law and their actions, every step of the way.
  4. Personally invested in your case: you need a lawyer that truly cares about your freedom and the outcome of your case, not just a payday from your wallet.
  5. Well respected in the legal community: your lawyer should command the respect of the court, community and clients alike.

Step Up Your Game with the Thiessen Law Firm, Proven Strong Defense

If you don’t feel confident with the service you’re receiving from your attorney, you have every right to fire and replace with some better. Don’t get caught in an awful situation a day longer — hire an ethical attorney that is out for your best interest with and will fight like hell to protect your rights. Whether you need a Houston DWI attorney, are battling a DWI blood test, or fighting a Texas DWI license suspension, the Thiessen Law Firm is battled-tested, courtroom-proven, and a trustworthy partner to its clients.

At Thiessen Law Firm, we emphasize personal service (giving out our cell phone numbers is common practice so that you can get answers when you need them most). With at 10/10 rating from the AVVO, we’ve helped our clients beat charges ranging from misdemeanor assault all the way to intoxication manslaughter.

We can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation and get ready to see what real legal defense looks like.

Thiessen Law Firm

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.