Bad lawyers can cost your freedom -- check these signs

There are some kinds of services that you don't want to take a chance with: dentists, airplane pilots, surgeons and sushi chefs. These workers must be skilled enough to manage the high risks of their job. Just like other professions that handle safety and well-being, lawyers need to be vigilant and knowledgeable.

Although your attorney should be deserving of your trust, some lawyers might cut corners and mishandle your case. This can cost years of time in jail, legal fees and even a wrong conviction. It can be tough to see that your lawyer is rotten early in the case, but there are a few things that can tip you off to potential risk.

Low reviews

These days, law firms typically have Facebook pages and a Yelp listing, which are two places to search for reviews. You can compare different firms to see how other people felt about their experience.

If the attorney has one star, but only one review, you might not be able to tell quite yet. Do a little more online research. When all else fails, see if the firm offers a free consultation so you can check other red flags.

Poor communication

You should be able to discuss your case with your attorney, but a bad one might not make reasonable time for you. Check to see how long they take to answer your emails and return phone calls. They should not contact you through social media or other unsecure channels.

Another problem with bad communication skills is that you could end up paying for more services than you agreed on. Bills should always be clear. You should also feel free to ask your lawyer to explain fees.

Ignored deadlines

During your case, you will likely have a number of due dates for documents or fees. A good attorney will have a system to keep track of deadlines and won't let anything fall between the cracks. A bad attorney would forget or be slack about deadlines.

Even after a careful selection, you may still fail to detect a bad lawyer until they make a major mistake with your case. However, you can find a better attorney who can guide you through an appeals process to help you access a truly fair trial.

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Patrick T. McNally, Attorney at Law
424 Church Street
Fifth Third Center, Suite 2260
Nashville, TN 37219

Toll Free: 800-785-9546
Phone: 615-200-9559
Fax: 615-635-0018
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