Monthly Archives: June 2018

Lawyer Survey Suggests

In my national survey of lawyers, lawyers speak about the kinds of unrealistic client expectations or misperceptions they have encountered when clients approach or consult with them. One such unrealistic client expectation or misperception falls into the category of “what lawyers should be paid, when, and if they should be paid at all for the services they provide.”

The lawyers’ general feeling is the prospect or client’s view of lawyers and their role has been distorted by Hollywood and 50 years of TV law heroes. Those clients that do not have contact with lawyers regularly, and/or their only contact with them is when the are in trouble, are likely to have more misperceptions about lawyers and what they do and can do for their fees. Many seem to assume that fees should be the same as, or similar to, what a TV client paid “Perry Mason” or to other TV lawyers, for example: that is, nothing. Law-oriented entertainment programs, which are often the resource for many clients’ beliefs about lawyers and the law, rarely or never discuss fees. From a practical standpoint, doing so would be a distraction to the viewer and take away from the focus, action, and flow of the story.

Clients often believe that the lowest quoted price (a low-ball estimate) is the way to go. They do not want to pay what are considered the average retainers or fees that are deemed appropriate within the profession. Consequently, they may be shocked because they are comparing lawyer fees to the cost of some non-specific-problem software or fill-in forms that can be purchased at the local office store. They also do not see why they should pay for something the lawyer “already knows” since that information is supposed to be something they should already know as part of their being a lawyer. After all, if the lawyer does not have to spend hours researching the caselaw about the problem and can just print off a form on their computer, why should the client have to pay for it.

There was an overriding feeling that lawyers’ fees should not be set. That is, they should be free in some cases and flexible in others. Specifically, the client seems to feel that fees should depend upon the client’s case, circumstances, and ability to pay. The lawyer should charge certain clients less according to some sliding scale because of the type of case it is or the client has a particular personal problem or does not have much money. However, even those who make a fair amount of money to cover the fees sometimes seem unable to understand why the lawyer should want a retainer and be paid “appropriate fees for their services.”

There is also the expectation that the lawyer will not bill for time spent researching the case, making phone calls, or writing letters on the client’s behalf. The idea of a lawyer billing for time spent waiting in court also seems out of the question. There are clients who may not want to pay a lawyer’s fees because the client is unhappy with their legally-binding outcomes, even if these outcomes are the result of a negotiation or compromise to which the client has agreed.

This lawyers’ survey also suggests that there are unrealistic client expectations and misperceptions about what lawyers do, can do, and should do as well as what the clients can expect to achieve as a result of hiring a lawyer. This will be discussed further in other articles.

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The Advantages of Being a Lawyer

Lawyers are one of the most respected professionals in the country. There are many advantages that come with the job! If you are thinking of following a legal career, here is a list of highlights that will make you consider the lawyer profession.

1. Money. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a lawyer is around $100,000. However, many lawyers earn a lot more. The pay depends on your experience, talent and where you work. Even when you are at the start of your career, you can expect high pay, for a fresh graduate.

2. You will not get bored. If you want an active job, with a lot of travel opportunities become an attorney! You will have a high level of mobility and you have may work opportunities. Lawyers investigate different cases and you will experience something new with every task.

3. Prestige and work satisfaction.A law career is still considered a landmark of success. High pay, influence and knowledge will make you one of the elites and earn you respect and recognition. Even today, attorneys are held in high esteem and their glamorous image is still promoted by the media!

4. You will help others. You have probably heard a lot of jokes about lawyers and their egocentric interests. However, the real situation is completely different! Many law firms offer pro bono services. This means that people can get help with legal matters for free! You too will have the possibility of helping people find justice. For example, many innocent people where saved from jail sentences and even death penalties by their lawyers!

5. You will know the law. The laws apply to many levels of our society. Knowing the law comes in handy for many things like: purchasing property, a car, conducting business and even doing your taxes. It will also be easier to make important connections because many people will ask for your advice on legal and business issues.

6. You can start your own business. After you gather enough experience and funds, you will be able to run your own business! You will be your own boss and you will work only in your interest. Being an attorney is perhaps the easiest way to become self-employed! Also, your legal knowledge will help you deal with any formalities and papers!

Know Before You Hire A Lawyer

If you find a need to hire a lawyer, there are a few things you should always take into consideration before making a decision on which lawyer to hire.

You should know if the lawyer has had any complaints made about him or his techniques as well as finding out about cases he or she may have had difficulties with in the past. One way to verify if there are any complaints about the lawyer would be to check with your states Bar Association. The Bar Association is the organization that keeps track of lawyers and handles complaints about lawyers.

You can look up your local Bar Associations contact information in your local yellow pages, or by contacting librarians at local law libraries in your area to get the address. Once you have the mailing address for the Bar Association, you should send a polite letter inquiring as to whether the lawyer you are seeking information about has any complaints on file or not. The Bar Association will not tell you what the complaints were for if there are any on file, they will only tell you if any have been filed.

Once you have a record of any (or no) complaints, you should then verify how long the lawyer has been practicing law. If the lawyer has 3 complaints and has only been practicing law for 6 months, then you should definitely locate another lawyer. Yet if the lawyer has 3 complaints in 30 years, that’s a very good record which is an indication of a very good lawyer.

If your case is going to trial, you will also need to verify how much experience the lawyer has in trial court. Many cases never end up in court in front of a Judge or jury, so some lawyers never have a need to appear in court. If your case seems to be one that will most likely end up in court, then you need to make sure that the lawyer you are looking to hire has plenty of trial experience before a Judge and jury. If the lawyer does not have adequate experience, then you may wish to seek another lawyer to hire.

You should also ask the lawyer about the success rate of his cases. If he has handled 100 cases and has won 80 of them, then 80% would be the lawyer’s success rate. A lawyer will usually say that some cases did not require “winning” or “losing”, and that all that those cases required was a happy client once the case was resolved. If the lawyer makes a statement like this, then you have found an intelligent attorney who understands exactly what his or her clients need him or her to do. If he has few or no bar complaints and has been practicing law for several years (and if he or she has trial experience if you plan to go to trial) then you have probably found the perfect lawyer to handle your case.