How do I know if my attorney is handling my employment discrimination case competently?

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How do I know if my attorney is handling my employment discrimination case competently?

I hired an attorney on a contingency basis concerning a discrimination issue. He sent the letter of complaint but tells me that he can go no further untill I get witnesses to make statements. Of course they all want to wait until they’re subpeoned for fear of losing there jobs or other repurcussions. I’m confused. Is this protocol? He told me I had a very good chance of winning. I don’t understand why he dosen’t start the deposition process.

Asked on August 27, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There are ways to compel witnesses to testify, but if they are unwilling to do so, it will require a subpoena or other court order. Given that getting that will take more time and effort from the lawyer, he may be unwilling to invest that time for a contingency case (especially if you're only seeking a few thousand, or even a couple of tens of thousands, of dollars), since the more time he spends on the case, the less he effectively earns per hour.

Ultimately, there is no hard and fast rule as to how to pursue a case. If you do not trust the lawyer, you should at a minimum see if you can't get a 2nd opinon from some other employment attorney, who can evaluate your situation in detail; you may wish to contemplate simply changing lawyers, if you don't like this one's approach--you have that right. First, you should have a heart-to-heart with the lawyer, ask him all your questions about timing, strategy, getting evidence, etc. If you don't like or trust his answers (or he's evasive or non-responsive), that's when you start looking for a new lawyer. Good luck.


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