One thing that can help many people when working with attorneys is knowing what to expect. By knowing what to anticipate, you'll be able to tell if something isn't as it should be. For instance, if you know that most attorneys charge $500 to file documents with the court for their time whereas yours comes up with a bill for $3,000, you may be in a position to ask questions about how that bill came about.
On the whole, the majority of attorneys are respectable. The few who do cause trouble make it harder for clients and attorneys alike. How do you know if you've chosen one of the bad eggs?
Start with communication
The first sign that an attorney may not be up to scratch is that he or she does not communicate with you in a timely manner. You should have your phone calls returned within a reasonable amount of time and be able to communicate with your attorney when needed. If you're finding that you can't get in to see your attorney and won't be able to get a phone call to discuss your case either, then you may wish to move on and find someone better suited to your needs.
Look into competency
Another thing to remember is that not all attorneys are at the same level of competency. Those who have worked in the field longer may be better at their jobs simply due to experience. That's not always the case, but experience is usually a good indication of the attorney's history and background.
If you believe your attorney is making mistakes and isn't taking your case seriously, you may wish to turn your case over to someone else. If your attorney makes a mistake that costs you your case or leads to financial harm, then it's time to look into your legal options with someone else.
Keep track of fees
Finally, it is a good idea to keep track of the fees you're being charged for. Not all attorneys charge the same, and some who are more expensive have reasons for being so. However, you should receive an average for how much you'll pay up front or at least get an idea of the expenses for cases like yours. Get a fee agreement in a clear, understandable document so you can track how much time your attorney is taking and how much it's costing you. That way, if there is a problem, you know exactly what is in the agreement and how to dispute it.
These are a few things you can look for to determine if your attorney is doing good work for you or if he or she is taking advantage of your time or money.