Opposing Attorney Not Responding To My Attorney: What To Do? (5 Proven Strategies)

Are you dealing with a case where the opposing attorney is not responding to your attorney’s emails, phone calls, and settlement demands? 

Nothing is worse than sending a settlement demand and not hearing any response from opposing counsel. When this happens, there are steps you can take to address the issue and ensure that your case is settled quickly. 

This article will explore five (5) techniques our law firm uses to get the opposing attorney’s attention and get cases settled. 

5 Proven Steps to Get Your Spouse’s Attorney to Respond

When opposing attorneys refuse to respond to phone calls, emails, and settlement demands, you can do a few things to move the case forward. 

1. Have Your Attorney Follow up

If your attorney has yet to hear back from opposing counsel within a reasonable amount of time, have your attorney follow up with an email and a phone call. Make sure your attorney is persistent.

2. Document the Attempts to Communicate

Have your attorney document all attempts at communication with the opposing attorney. Documentation of your attorney’s attempts to communicate with the opposing attorney will be crucial. 

If the opposing attorney continues to ignore your attorney, the court will have to get involved. Having a list of the dates and numbers of unreturned emails and phone calls will demonstrate to the court that you have made good-faith efforts to resolve the dispute outside of court.

3. Have Your Attorney Email the Judge Asking for a Phone Conference to Discuss the Case Status.

Since COVID, I have found that judges are open to receiving emails and scheduling informal phone conferences. 

Judges want cases to move forward quickly, just like most clients do. Most judges are happy to have a phone conference to discuss issues and help lawyers move their cases toward settlement or trial. 

Here are some ways that I have found involving the judge can be helpful:

  • Encouraging cooperation: If you’re having trouble getting the opposing party or their attorney to cooperate, involving the judge can help encourage them to take the case seriously and work towards a resolution.

  • Providing guidance: The judge can provide guidance on legal issues or questions that may arise during the case. This can help you and the opposing party understand the legal implications of specific actions or decisions.

  • Facilitating communication: If you and the opposing party are having trouble communicating effectively, the judge can help facilitate communication and encourage both parties to work together to resolve the case.

  • Setting deadlines: If the case is moving slowly or one party is delaying the process, the judge can set deadlines for certain actions or decisions. This can help move the case forward and ensure the case stays on track.

  • Encouraging settlement: If the case is appropriate for settlement, involving the judge can help encourage settlement negotiations and help the parties reach a resolution without needing a trial.

Keep in mind that involving the judge should be done thoughtfully and strategically. You should work closely with your attorney to determine the best way to involve the judge in your case and ensure that your actions are appropriate and in compliance with court rules and procedures.

4. File a Motion With the Court Requesting a Status Conference

If your local judge is not inclined to informal emails and telephone conferences, you should have your attorney file a motion with the court requesting a phone conference or a status conference. 

When filing a motion, explain why a phone conference is necessary and how it will help move the case forward. Document all of the attempts to communicate with opposing counsel that have been ignored. Follow all court rules and procedures for filing a motion and provide copies of any relevant documents or correspondence.

What Will Happen During the Status Conference? 

Once the motion is filed, the judge will hold a status conference to help move a case forward. During a status conference, the judge will typically review the status of the case and discuss any outstanding issues or concerns. 

Here are some things a judge may do during a status conference to help move the case forward:

  • Set deadlines: The judge may set deadlines for specific actions, such as discovery or filing of motions. This can help ensure the case stays on track and moves toward a resolution.

  • Encourage settlement: If the case is appropriate for settlement, the judge may encourage the parties to negotiate and work toward a resolution.

  • Identify legal issues: The judge may identify legal issues or questions that must be resolved before the case can proceed. This can help the parties focus their efforts on the most important issues and move toward resolution.

  • Discuss evidentiary issues: The judge may discuss any evidentiary issues, such as the admissibility of specific evidence. This can help the parties negotiate a settlement or prepare for trial.

  • Address procedural issues: The judge may address any procedural issues, such as motions for summary judgment or motions to dismiss. This can help clarify the legal issues in the case and move the case toward resolution.

Overall, the goal of a status conference is to ensure that the case stays on track and moves toward a resolution. 

5. File a Motion Requesting a Court Order That The Case Be Mediated

Most states allow an attorney to file a motion asking the judge to order the case be mediated. 

This can be a great strategy if your spouse’s attorney does not respond to your settlement offer. 

Filing a motion requesting a court order to mediate the case can have several benefits. Here are some potential benefits:

  • Encourages settlement: Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that can be highly effective in resolving disputes. By requesting a court order for mediation, you are showing a willingness to engage in settlement negotiations and work toward a resolution.

  • Saves time and money: Mediation can be a faster and less expensive way to resolve a case than going to trial. By engaging in mediation, you may be able to save time and money in the long run.

  • Improves communication: Mediation can improve communication between the parties and their attorneys. This can help clarify issues and make it easier to reach a settlement agreement.

  • Avoids the uncertainty of trial: Going to trial can be unpredictable, and there is always a risk that you may not get the outcome you want. Mediation allows you to have more control over the outcome and avoid the uncertainty of trial.

  • Reduces stress: Litigation can be stressful and emotionally draining. Mediation can be a more relaxed and informal setting, reducing stress and making reaching an agreement easier.

Overall, requesting a court order for mediation can be a proactive step toward resolving your case. It shows a willingness to engage in settlement negotiations and work towards a resolution, potentially saving time and money in the long run.

Why Do Attorneys Refuse to Respond to Emails, Phone Calls, and Settlement Demands? 

There can be several reasons opposing attorneys may fail to respond to emails, phone calls, and settlement demands. Here are some possible reasons:

  • Heavy workload: The attorney may be dealing with a heavy workload and may need more time or resources to respond to every communication they receive. This can cause delays in communication and response times.

  • Intentional delay: In some cases, the opposing attorney may intentionally delay the case by not responding to communication.

  • Legal strategy: The attorneys may purposely delay communication or settlement demands as part of their legal strategy. They may be waiting for more information or trying to negotiate a better settlement deal.

  • Lack of resources: Smaller law firms or solo practitioners may not have the resources to respond to every communication in a timely manner. They may be prioritizing urgent matters or cases with higher priority.

  • Personality or communication style: Some attorneys may have a communication style that is not responsive or may be difficult to work with. This can create frustration and delays in communication.


Q: Can the lack of response from the opposing attorney be used against them in court?

A: The lack of response from the opposing attorney can be used against them in court if it is shown that their lack of response caused delays or other issues in the case. 

Your attorney must provide evidence of the attempts at communication and the lack of response to show that the opposing attorney was not fulfilling their duties. 

Q: Can I file a complaint against the opposing attorney for not responding?

A: It is possible to file a complaint against an attorney for not responding to communication or other issues related to their conduct in the case. This should only be done after all other options have been exhausted, and you should consult with your attorney before taking any action. 

Filing a complaint can be time-consuming and expensive, and it may not always lead to a satisfactory outcome.


Dealing with an opposing attorney who is not responding to your attorney can be frustrating and challenging. It is essential to take steps to address the issue and ensure that your case is handled correctly. 

By following up, documenting the lack of response, and seeking mediation or other legal options if necessary, you can work to resolve the issue and move forward with your case. 

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Tim McDuffey is a practicing attorney in the State of Missouri. Tim is a licensed member of the Missouri Bar and Missouri Bar Association.

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