RTL’s Real Truth About Lawyers # 5: “Everyone knows you can’t trust lawyers, so, how do I pick a good one, right…?”
What I’m about to tell you will seem very odd, and it’s quite a shame, actually, because it’s the very crux of what is wrong with the legal profession today. The most important aspect of any attorney client relationship is TRUST. That’s right, TRUST, and this is why:
Far from being an oxymoron; it’s actually the whole point. It’s good that an attorney know the law and the legal procedures of the courtrooms in which he practices. But above all his education and expertise, he must be trustworthy. All the talent in the world is useless if you can’t trust your attorney. Unfortunately, bad attorneys are so plentiful these days they have led most clients into believing that they cannot trust any of them. And although good trustworthy attorneys are hard to find, it is absolutely essential that you choose one that you can trust above all other considerations. That’s simply the real truth about lawyers.
Give It To Me Straight, Counselor
Oftentimes an attorney will have to look a client dead in the eye and give them advice that he or she will steadfastly not wish to accept or follow. In fact, such occasions are exactly why you hire a good attorney in the first place; to tell you the truth you either cannot see without a legal education or simply refuse to see out of sheer stubbornness and/or rationalization. It’s very easy to be guided by passions and emotions that lead us all to make rash and ill informed decisions and even lawyers, with all their education to the contrary are susceptible. It doesn’t make us foolish; it simply makes us human. But just as surely as a trusted friend and ally is an asset in such non-legal situations to keep our worse selves in check, your legal counsel is no different where legal matters are concerned. Your lawyer’s advice is worthless if you cannot trust him or her to act in your own best interests and to guide you in the direction you yourself would go had you the insight to see the path clearly through the complications that law inevitably creates. And it is precisely when your legal counsel advises you against your own inclinations that trusting such judgement becomes so vitally important.
It’s 99% of Lawyers That Give the Rest a Bad Name
Unfortunately, it seems in this day and age bad untrustworthy lawyers comprise such a majority of the legal profession that most clients simply assume there are no trustworthy ones to be found. And that apparent vast majority is not a misconception. Take it from an attorney who has been practicing law in Mississippi now for over twenty five years; you can’t throw a rock in this town without hitting a bad attorney. But that’s not a reason to settle with a bad one. In fact, in today’s legal environment it’s more important that ever not to. Because once you let such a bad attorney into your case, the damage created will often make your case damaged beyond repair, And even if if such damage is reparable, most good lawyers won’t take it on. Good lawyers don’t like cleaning up bad lawyer’s messes. And they’re surely not eager to take on the inevitable fee sharing claim when the same bad lawyer resurfaces to unfairly try and argue his contribution once he thinks there’s a recovery. Such cases become legal kryptonite to good lawyers who simply refuse the risk, so it is essential you avoid bad attorneys from the get go to be sure your case yields it’s true maximum recovery.
The Good; The Bad; and the Ugly – What This Ultimately Means to You
If an attorney approaches his cases simply from the vantage point of what he can ‘get away with’, then he’s not only a bad lawyer, he’s a bad businessman. A bad lawyer counts on people NOT knowing how he operates while a good lawyer counts on exactly the opposite. A bad lawyer will look for unsuspecting clients he can fleece one at a time until he runs out of victims and has to eventually move somewhere people don’t know him. But a good lawyer knows a good practice is built over time by word of mouth and referrals from satisfied clients who were fairly treated and, consequently, want to recommend him to family and friends. First and foremost, make sure your attorney has a track record of satisfied clients who vouch for his trustworthiness. This is one area where good legitimate real client referrals are essential. In a day where high dollar advertising has all but taken over the entire legal profession, it’s more important than ever to dig beyond the hype and ask the right questions to avoid truly hurting your own case with a poor choice in legal counsel. And that’s simply another real truth about lawyers.