An inside perspective by Ron K. Cheng
There are over a million attorneys in the United States and their numbers grow every year. With so many attorneys on the market, it can be difficult to sort through all of them to find out who the best lawyers actually are. In this blog series, I hope to give you an insider perspective on qualities and traits to look for in a lawyer so you can feel confident about the person or people representing you.
The first entry in this series aims to dispel the myth in the title. Here’s the truth: there is NOT a single “best” attorney for everyone. If that were the case, many attorneys would be out of a job because everyone would be going to one person or one firm. The key to finding the best attorney is to look at who the best attorney is FOR YOU.
A lot of lawyers spend a ton of money on advertising to get your attention and attract new clientele. However, just because someone is good at marketing does not necessarily make them a good lawyer and not everyone who is a good lawyer is the right lawyer for you. Your needs and your case should be at the forefront of your attorney’s mind.
The reality is that attorneys need to pay the bills to keep the lights on. However, this is not a problem in and of itself. The problem occurs when these attorneys start taking cases because they are desperate or because they are lazy. Lawsuits are no laughing matter, they take a lot of time and effort to resolve and you should be extremely cautious of any attorney who promises you a quick buck.
Settling a lawsuit can be a good thing, but is the lawsuit settling fast because it’s a great case and any defendant would be foolish not to settle or… is the attorney just trying to push a quick settlement so he or she doesn’t have to do the work to get you the real value of the claim?
You do NOT want a lawyer that is ONLY focused on the dollar signs instead of your needs. The practice of pushing for a quick settlement is unfortunately so common that attorneys have nicknamed this practice the “burn and churn operation.”
The “burn and churn operation” looks to attract as many clients as possible and settle as many of their cases as quickly as they can with no intention of ever taking the case to trial. Cases that don’t settle get dropped as quickly as they were accepted because keeping the case going takes more work than “burn and churn” attorneys can, or want to, handle.
Settling a case for less than its full value can actually hurt a victim even more. Many victims have medical liens, future medical problems, and other unresolved issues and a settlement puts an end to their ability to get a remedy for the harm they’ve suffered. You want an attorney that is going to go the extra mile to make sure you are fairly compensated and that you are better off after the lawsuit than you were before.
The best attorney for you is the one who is willing to do the legal legwork when a case is in a quagmire. You want an attorney who is willing to stick it through with you in good times and bad times, because at the end of the day, it’s you that has to live with the results.
Check back in a couple weeks when we continue this series, discussing “The truth about how much your claim is worth.”