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Can you define a "reasonable" time length? And "diligence," please?

1 Answers. Asked on Aug 23rd, 2016 on Legal Malpractice - Wisconsin
More details to this question:
How long is reasonable for a response from my lawyer? How is diligence measured? Concerned time is running out. Lawyer (L) doesn't respond to email requests in a timely way, or no reply. After 3 emails neglected over 3 weeks, I scheduled phone mtg by calling office. I've requested copies of all case documents - as agreed upon from start, but not received consistently. After repeated reminders, paralegal sends me a few at a time, still have not received the docs from the other side. L promised numerous times that everything would be sent, issue remedied. However, says many things are done by paralegal via phone, no documentation exists to provide to me, and a brief email update would be undue workload. When discussing my case over the phone, L seems not to have case details accessible. Says "a lot is being done," but offers few specifics, and refers to case details vaguely - "As I remember...". Is it reasonable to expect that my L have case specifics available for our update mtgs?
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Answered on Aug 24th, 2016 at 9:27 AM

       There is no definitive answer to your question. Lawyers are under a duty to keep their client reasonably and promptly informed on the status of the case. This doesn't always require "same day" response, but certainly requires a contemporaneous response. It shouldn't take you repeated attempts and weeks on end to get information on your case from your lawyer. To me, that is totally unacceptable. In regard to copies of your file, you own the file, not the lawyer. The lawyer is under a duty to copy and provide you with everything in the file, upon reasonable request, all without charge. If the attorney has periodically provided you with copies of your file and you want them to copy it a second time, under that circumstance, the lawyer can reasonasbly charge you the costs of copying the file.

       I can't speak for other lawyers but we have a "same day return" policy in our office. This means that every  e mail, every phone call, and every inquiry from clients, prospective clients and other attorneys, to the extent we reasonably can, gets returned and responded to the same day. To me, it is not just enough to provide the best legal representation, but it is equally as important to provide excellent customer service. You obviously aren't getting that with your current lawyer  and the mesasge I am getting is that they don't seem to care about you or your case. It may be time for you to go shopping for a new lawyer. You don't describe what the nature of your legal case is about so I don't know if you are talking about an injury case, or you are in the middle of a divorce.

David B. Karp Karp & Iancu, S.C. 933 North Mayfair Road #300 Milwaukee, WI 53226 414 453 0800 dbk@karplawfirm.com www.karplawfirm.com

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The vast majority of attorneys act ethically and diligently representing the interests of their clients. But what happens when you hire a lawyer who has a conflict of interest, makes errors in your representation, is negligent or breaches his or her fiduciary duty? In those instances, you may have grounds for a legal malpractice complaint or lawsuit. Law firms that represent the victims of legal malpractice can help you file a complaint with your state's lawyer registration and disciplinary commission, while also filing a civil lawsuit against your former attorney.
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