There are thousands of lawyers in California who seem to have a similar education, licensing and specialization and yet the experience that different clients have with their attorneys are so different from one another.
So, how do you know that your attorney is the one who will provide you with quality legal representation:
1. Your attorney is not overconfident in the outcome of your case. No matter how experienced and seasoned the lawyer is, he cannot and should never be sure of the outcome of your case. There are so many facts and circumstances that might come into play as the case develops and the nature of our legal system is such that there is simply no way to know for sure whether you will win or lose and if you win – how much exactly you will recover from the other side.
A responsible legal professional will assure you that he will do the best he can to represent you as aggressively as possible but he will not make any promises as to how much you will recover and how long exactly the process will take.
2. A good attorney should not act like a pushy salesman. He shouldn’t shove papers underneath your hand for your signature telling you that “it’s OK and you have nothing to worry about.” Instead, he should explain to you in plain and understandable terms what you are signing, why it is necessary and what the consequences of your executing that document are. For instance, a good attorney will go over your services contract with him, paragraph by paragraph, making sure that you understand what the scope and the limitations of the legal services you will be provided with.
A good attorney will also advise you that you are free to terminate your agreement at any time and seek alternate counsel and hire a different attorney of your choice at any time.
A good attorney is patient with his clients and makes sure that you have a general understanding of the process, and he doesn’t make you feel unwelcome or like you are wasting his time.
3. A good lawyer is capable of keeping in touch with you in a way that makes you feel that your case gets the attention it requires. An attorney has a duty to communicate with his client on a consistent basis. One of the most common complaints reported to the California State Bar by clients is that attorney fail to communicate and return phone calls / e-mails and letters from their clients. Being ignored is a frustrating experience in any setting – professionally, socially and especially when it comes to dealing with a lawyer. Litigation process is stressful enough and raises many questions or concerns in a client as the case develops that need to be addressed promptly. A good attorney is not “too busy” to return your calls and he keeps you informed of the developments of your case.
4. A good attorney will advise you not only how to prosecute your case but whether or not it is worth your time, money, energy and emotions to actually go after it. Not every fight is worth fighting and sometimes it is a better idea to walk away for your own benefit even if the other side gets away and isn’t held liable. An honest attorney will not make you fight a case just to charge you an hourly fee. He truly does work in the best interests of his clients by not only pursuing their legal rights but also advising them whether or not it’s prudent to pursue a case altogether.
5. A good lawyer is not too busy to handle your case. A competent lawyer will not take on more work than he can handle in a quality manner. A good attorney will not sacrifice the quality of his services for the sheer volume of the business because he realizes that his reputation and concern for his existing clients’ cases is his priority.
6. Lastly, your attorney doesn’t come across as a “typical” lawyer. A great attorney defies the stereotypes that are commonly associated with the legal profession – arrogance, greed and flamboyance, and substance abuse. He is friendly, personable and charismatic and you actually enjoy working with him/her.