When I entered law school people told me “enjoy saying that you are a law student now. People respect law students, they hate lawyers.” It is very true. Most people say that they don’t like lawyers, even if they have never met one.
Then suddenly one day you realize that despite all that you have heard about lawyers, you need one yourself. You are worried about getting someone to help you who will be honest and helpful. The first thing you need to do is determine the right kind of lawyer for you. Not all lawyers are the same, and not all lawyers will be the best fit for your situation. Check out my post How To Choose The Best Lawyer For You.
Part of finding a good lawyer for you is to find an honest lawyer. Attorneys have the reputation of being smooth talking, slight of the tongue, tricksters. Unfortunately that is sometimes true. But the vast majority of us are honest people who want to help others succeed. How do you find an honest lawyer who will look out for your best interests? It comes down to accepting what you don’t want to hear.
A dishonest lawyer is one who does not respect you enough to tell you the hard truth. If someone tells you that they will certainly win your case for you and that you don’t need to worry about a thing, then they are not the attorney for you. There are some cases that are stronger than others. A good attorney will tell you if your case is strong or not. Once they look at the evidence, they will tell you where the weakness lies in your case. A good attorney will not sugar coat reality and build up your hopes. Your best attorney will talk straight and let you know where you stand.
I often find people who don’t like it when I am straightforward and honest. They will say things like “you are supposed to be on my side,” or “I don’t see why you keep telling me all of these bad things.” What I try to explain is that by telling you the truth, and by being honest about your chances of success at trial, I am on your side. I am preparing you for what is to come ahead. I am letting you know that I see the problems and I am ready to address them. Do you want a lawyer who is blindsided in trial, or one who has thoroughly examined the evidence and discussed it with you?
When you are interviewing lawyers, ask them what they believe the likelihood of success is on your case. Don’t be disappointed if they are less than enthusiastic about it. Look for an attorney who tells you what they see as the positives and negatives of the case and is honest about your chance of success. Ask them what they do if they find that they have missed something or did something incorrectly. We are human, and mistakes happen. An honest lawyer will take immediate steps to correct the mistake and let you know if it is something that impacts you.
Ask what it is that you can do to make your case better. There are always little steps that you can take to make yourself look better to the judge. Don’t be surprised if the attorney tells you when you haven’t been following that advice. Also ask what you have done that will look bad to the judge. Often when you are caught up in a situation you lose track of what is best in the big picture. An honest attorney will tell you when you screwed up.
Remember also that most attorneys have a full case load and are working long hours to keep up. Especially if it is a small or solo practice they sometimes may not be able to get back to you for a few days. Trials, meetings, and illnesses all come up to stop us from doing what we would like to do. You can expect a return communication within one business day, two at the outer limit. Just because your lawyer is busy doesn’t meant that they aren’t honest or working for you.
If you live in the Denver Metro and you are looking for an honest lawyer to help you, please contact me through my website at MRutherfordLaw.com
Disclaimer: Nothing on this page is intended as legal advice, and should not be taken as legal advice. If you have a question you should consult with a lawyer. Meggin is certified to practice law only in the state of Colorado. Because of Colorado’s specific and often progressive laws this information will probably not apply to any other state. If you live in another state you should consult with a lawyer near you. This post does not confer any attorney client relationship, and no such relationship is formed until you and I have entered into an express contract. If you have any questions about any information on my blog please contact me at Meggin at MRutherfordLaw.com .