We’ve been in business for x years”
Law firms love to brag about how many years they’ve been in business. So what? Have you ever been to a restaurant that has been in business for a lot of years only to get a mediocre meal? This is not useful information. Experience does matter and it does make sense that a lawyer practicing longer in a particular area of law might be more skilled. However, experience alone doesn’t make a good lawyer. A lawyer should continue to grow, develop and improve their techniques and methods. Insurance companies, to the extent they respect anything or anyone, will give greater respect to lawyers who have actually tried cases in court. Insurers tend to put a higher value on cases based on the reputation of the lawyer and whether or not they take cases to trial. Some lawyers that brag about the number of years they’ve been practicing rarely try cases or haven’t done so in years. You should ask a lawyer about his or her track record before hiring them.
Nearly every lawyer ad in the yellow pages or on TV proclaims that the lawyer or firm is aggressive. What does this mean? Aren’t all attorneys ethically obligated to represent their clients zealously? Yes! However, the reality is that not all attorneys are in fact aggressive. If you choose a lawyer that gives the insurance company everything they want in an effort to settle a case, they are not aggressive. Being aggressive does not mean being a jerk. It means saying “no” and challenging the insurance company when they request information to which they are not entitled. It means fighting them in court when they request information or attempt to pry personal and medical history to find something embarrassing to use against you or attack your character. It means taking your case to trial.
The insurance companies have declared war on injured people. The industry has spent billions on publicity and advertising to create the impression in the minds of the general public (and your jury) that injured people are liars and cheats seeking something for nothing. Insurance companies lavish campaign contributions on lawmakers to get them to pass “tort reform”. The success insurance companies have had in polluting the minds of potential jurors has resulted in “low ball” settlement offers that force injured people to accept their unfair offer or go to court. The insurance companies’ resources available to fight your case are endless. Cases don’t settle fully and fairly unless they know you have the expert witnesses, the resources, and the lawyer prepared to beat them.
Every injury lawyer offers a free consultation. Hopefully you will find that this website, uniquely, provides you with the information you seek before you contact any attorney for a free consultation. Some lawyers might require a signed contact before they give you some of the information provided here. You need information, free from pressure, so that you can discuss matters with your family and friends before hiring a lawyer.
Strong arms & pit bulls & bears. Oh my!
Aren’t you sick of lawyer advertising? If you are persuaded to contact a lawyer because of his strong arms or because his or her print ads feature a vicious dog or growling bears, you might get what you bargained for. Rather than choose a lawyer because he or she advertises with a shark, consider whether they provide you with useful information. Consider whether the face on T.V. or in the yellow pages will even be your attorney (assuming that’s a good thing) if you hire their firm. Many of these firms are settlement mills with big advertising budgets and little, if any, trial experience. You may never even meet the person who you thought you were hiring. Instead, you may get shuffled off to another lawyer, various case managers and paralegals. You might get referred for medical treatment to a provider chosen, not for their competence, but on their longstanding relationship with the law firm. The result of all this is that your needs aren’t met, the big picture gets lost, and the value of your case suffers.
In May, 2008 a Colorado Springs jury awarded a woman $145,000 in damages from a local Denver lawyer who calls himself “The Strong Arm.” She claimed that she was misled by TV commercials where the strong arm promised big settlements. She claimed that she was pressured to accept a settlement of $25,000. The jury found the strong arm liable for negligence and misrepresentation.