Why can't I get a lawyer to take my case?
Just because you have a case doesn’t mean you automatically can hire a lawyer.
It’s common for people to comment on blog posts posted by the InjuryBoard lawyers and to add to their comment something along the lines of “I’d never hire you as my lawyer.” Or, “You’re just another bloodsucking lawyer.” It seems people who comment in favor or the Taser are especially prone to being rude and insolent. I’m not sure why anyone would make such a comment other than to try applying leverage in changing the lawyer’s mind about what he or she has written or to dissuade readers from adopting the lawyer’s ideas thinking that just by saying they wouldn’t hire the lawyer he or she mustn’t know what they are talking about or a bad lawyer.
Nothing could be further from the truth. First, the business of lawyering is about controversy and good lawyers don’t shy away from it. Lawyers learn early on to advocate a position irrespective of what they might think or feel about a particular subject. Lawyers work constantly on improving their communication skills to be more effective in persuading adjusters, judges, juries and defense lawyers that their client’s case has merit and that the client is worthy of remuneration or compensation.
In the case I’m referring to the female commenter wasn’t happy with my being critical of a police officer that substituted the use of a Taser for effective police communication skills. What that commenter didn’t appreciate is that the reverse is actually true about whether or not I would ever be her lawyer. Like most lawyers I don’t take a client’s case just because they might think it’s a great case. Contrary to popular belief lawyers do have a say as to who they choose for a client. It’s not a one-way street nor is the client in complete control of the choice to engage a lawyer to handle any one case. We regularly turn down cases, some might seem good, but the client isn’t the right fit.
And that’s one of the most misunderstood points of litigation: If your client isn’t likeable chances are the jury won’t like them either and will examine the evidence wanting to find against them. This commenter needed a lot of work before any jury would find her even remotely worthy of compensation, and that’s a person I would never choose as a client.
Let me give you an example that is extreme but will clearly demonstrate my point. What if Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahlmer were alive and being housed in the same prison, they escaped and were involved in an accident with a little old lady who ran a stop sign. If each secured an attorney to pursue a personal injury claim against the little old lady how many judges and jurors would feel any sympathy for them and award compensation? My guess is none, which clearly demonstrates my point about being a client or choosing a lawyer. Personal injury lawyers aren’t what people think we are and we don’t sit around dreaming about the next personal injury case that might walk across the threshold to our office. We are busy professionals who take our work seriously and we do turn away lots of injured people for as many reasons as there are obnoxious people in society. We aren’t stupid, we do understand the economics of this business and we clearly know how to recognize a good client from a bad one or else we’d be out of business.
So please understand Ms. Commenter, you’re correct that you would never be a client of mine, but not for the reasons you assume.
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