When you hire a lawyer, you expect them to provide you with a professional standard of legal representation. You defer to their knowledge of the law and court precedent when making decisions. You might also rely on them to be present for court hearings, especially if you have a job that makes taking time off of work for courts difficult.
Professional, organized attorney knows how to maintain their schedule and can be physically and cognitively present for each client during important meetings and court dates. Unfortunately, some attorneys will fail in this most basic responsibility. They might double schedule themselves or simply forget.
What might happen if your lawyer doesn’t show up to court?
The judge could issue a bench warrant for your arrest
If you face even minor criminal charges and relied on your attorney to be present during your hearing, their failure to show up could have major legal consequences.
The judge presiding over your hearing won’t necessarily know that your attorney is the one who failed, not you. They may issue a bench warrant for your arrest due to your failure to appear in court.
Their absence could influence how the judge views them or you
Judges have an obligation to maintain an impartial stance when hearing a case and interpreting the law. However, judges are still human, and their personal opinions absolutely influence how they rule in different court cases.
When your attorney seems unprofessional because they forget or show up late to hearings, that may influence how a judge views you or your case. They may be more skeptical of future claims made by your lawyer or less likely to view you in a positive light because of your attorney’s failings.
Failing to appear will drag out the legal process even longer
Filing a civil lawsuit or fighting against criminal charges can take months. Just getting a hearing date set is often an uphill battle. When your attorney fails to show up, you will likely need to reschedule, a step that could significantly increase how long it takes you to ultimately resolve your legal issues.
When you hire a lawyer to represent you in a criminal or civil matter, you expect them to be reliable and professional. Attorneys who fail to appear and who otherwise make unprofessional mistakes in their legal practice may put their clients at a disadvantage.
In some cases, those negatively affected by an unprofessional attorney may have grounds to bring a legal malpractice claim against that lawyer. Recognizing which behaviors are warning signs of legal malpractice can help you stand up for yourself against an incompetent or unprofessional attorney.