Finding a lawyer is not a decision to be taken lightly. A good attorney can help you deal with a difficult legal situation or even prevent legal problems from occurring in the first place. But if your lawyer’s helping you fight a losing battle, it’s time to find someone new.

How do you know when that time has come? Here are some clues that it might be time for a change:

Your Attorney Is Using Delaying Tactics

In any legal matter, time is of the essence. If your lawyer tells you that it will take several months to sort out the situation or that there’s nothing more to be done until a certain date, question his judgment. Is he procrastinating? There could be many reasons for this, including personal problems or a lack of skill or experience. Unless your attorney can give you an acceptable reason for the delay, find someone else.

Settling Matters Isn’t His Style

Suppose your lawyer tends to come down hard on the other side (such as pushing for higher than market value in real estate negotiations). In that case, he may be more interested in winning than in resolving your problem. Of course, some people welcome a tough attorney who knows what he’s doing. If you’re not one of them, look for someone more interested in helping you solve the matter peacefully than in debating and arguing with opposing counsel.

Sometimes, Your Attorney Just Doesn’t Seem to “Get It.”

If there’s been a change in the law that affects your case, or if you’re involved in an important lawsuit, it can be frustrating to have to explain basic concepts over and over again. It might be time for a new attorney if he just doesn’t seem to get it after repeated explanations.

The Relationship Is No Longer Professional

If your attorney has started spending a lot of time on the phone with you, telling you about his love life, or inviting you out to lunch every day, it’s time to rethink your relationship. Do not assume that he is trying to be friendly; he may just be getting too familiar.

If your attorney’s not helping you, or if he seems to be making things worse instead of better, find someone else. While it may cost you some money upfront, the peathice of mind that comes from knowing your case will soon be resolved is well worth the expense.