Don’t Hire a Lawyer While Under The Influence…
…of bad marketing. This includes promises, guaranteed results, or outlandish claims of past triumphs. The old adage is, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. I am passionate about this subject for two big reasons – bad marketing practices are dangerous to the public and an embarrassment to my profession. They are dangerous to the public because an unscrupulous advertising lawyer knows she is marketing to someone who is going through the worst of times and is at their most vulnerable. These lawyers try to get people looking for a quick way out of a bad situation to bite on guarantees of prevailing, which translates, not so subtly, to guarantees of a great settlement. There are several variations of guarantees, mostly through suggestions.
Any lawyer who professes to be undefeated has (1) only tried a few cases and happened to win them all, (2) not tried any case, as a 0-0 record includes no losses, (3) been extremely lucky because even the best lawyers lose great cases, (4) isn’t trying factually or legally complex cases, or (5) is lying.
There are two other claims that really irritate me. First, lawyers who say “we get results,” or “we care.” If you are a lawyer and you have a habit of not getting any kind of results for your client, then what in the holy hell are you doing in this business? Getting a result is the lowest bar a lawyer can have for herself. Also, no lawyer should have to say, “we care.” That should be a given. Has anyone ever wanted to go to a doctor who claimed simply that he cared? I certainly hope not. As a consumer in need of an attorney, you should be looking for much more than promises of results. you should be looking for a temporary partnership with a professional firm that is going to handle your case like its the only file they have in the building.
When you or a loved one are hurt, out of work, and feeling terrible about your circumstances, it is easy to be moved by loud promises of a quick, big settlement. Just about anyone sitting at home unable to work because of the negligence of another would love to be handed enough money to know he or she will be getting by for a little while longer. When you hear some cornpone guy on TV yelling about crushing his opponents one after the other to get his clients, the quick compensation they deserve, ask one question – assuming this guy actually did get his client $300,000 “quick,” why did this transaction happen so quickly? Did this lawyer sell out his client in order to turn the case over and avoid the expense of protracted litigation? Could he have gotten three or four times that amount for this client if he had done a good job in discovery by obtaining helpful documents and incriminating testimony from the other side? Probably. But, if a quick bandaid is what you want instead of having most of all your troubles covered, then call the guy on television. Some of the good ones have a network of good trial lawyers, and there is a decent change you will land in good hands. But woe to the man who dials that phone and expects to have a partner in his legal journey. Not likely.
We run a trial firm. This means that we work up every case as if it will be presented in a courtroom in the next year to eighteen months. Why? Because we are focused on getting the maximum recovery for our clients, which means always that the case must be worked up vigorously while it rolls down the track toward its trial date. When cases are not handled in this manner, the attorney for then plaintiff becomes nothing more than a middle man between the insurance adjuster and the client. Do you want to hire someone who ends up getting you something close to what you could have gotten on your own, but takes a 40% fee for his “service?” Be my guest. If you want someone to get to the truth, the only chance of that happening is for the attorney and staff to vigorously work up the case for trial. But, I just got in a t-bone accident at a four-way stop and have a broken leg, you say. I just want this settled. I say back, but what if you found out that driver who hit you was just dialing his girlfriend when he went through that stop sign? That could add significant value to the case, while providing the client the answer to the nagging question of “why did this happen?” This is a very simple example, but the point is to illustrate that a good lawyer needs to always be digging to find more. There is almost always something down there deep that will help your case while also helping to resolve that nagging “why?”
If you want a quick settlement, do not hire me. That’s not what we do. We leave no stone unturned until we find the truth, and when that happens, we consider the case trial ready. This is the point where you typically get a max pre-trial offer and have your best chance at a settlement you will be pleased with. This is also the point where you, as the client, and we as your counsel, are fully informed and can weigh the risk of taking the case to trial. Only approximately five percent of all filed lawsuits end up in trial. We blow that statistic out of the water because we do not simply take the defendant’s last offer. We do not accept unless the offer matches the risk exposure and represents justice to our clients. We are not pigeons who carry the message from the insurance carrier to the client. Your lawyer should do much, much more, and, in fact, has an obligation to.
If you want a partner on your journey in the search for the truth, let’s work together. This process can take a month or it can sometimes take years. Whatever the facts of your case demand from us, we will provide as long as you are willing to come on the ride with us. It’s a relationship of trust like no other.