Really, there is no legal maxim or rule of court that assures fairness, or anything close to that. Due process has as many different variations as there are cases and facts. One of the most difficult things that a person may ever need to do is to assess their particular situation to know whether they have a justiciable case, or a viable defense, and whether some level of lawyering will be required to help them out. Usually, there is some level of difficulty involved, and even simple-seeming incidents will have intricacies that are tough-to-know and impactful. And, as the old expression goes, folks endeavoring to represent themselves, could generally wind up with a fool for a client. In my 30-plus years of shepherding critical dilemmas through the recovery process and judicial system, I have not once seen justice that was at-once uncounseled, automatic and adequate. I would imagine that it has happened occasionally, yet throughout my twisting and turning legal career – starting in the early 80’s – I’ve seldom seen it.
Like in theater, where there are no small parts, only small actors, there is no such thing as a small case. At the same time, certain matters are of such grave consequence, that one knows so right away, that the specific event is life-altering. Regardless of the scope of claim, defense, or consequence, the first-person dealing with the occurrence – the client – needs to make herself or himself the smartest-person-in-the-room insofar as making decisions that ultimately affect their own lives. This may involve speaking with two, three or six lawyers, or maybe just one, if the experience, commitment, and human connection is there. As, the lawyer becomes, in many instances, the client’s extremely close confidant and 360° acute-responder, and this relationship possibly endures on a long-term basis.
Recommended steps in securing an appropriate attorney or engaging a legal team should ostensibly include:
(1) knowing as many facts about the given case and circumstances as possible;
(2) doing as much research as one can as to the area of concern and trends in that realm;
(3) surveying the attorneys most devoted to that field of law, including their knowhow, grit, profile, trial results and other track record;
(4) considering other practical points such as the attorney’s professionalism, availability, geography, and community-commitment; and then, very important,
(5) the client should trust her or his own gut as to who they are most comfortable with, and can best relate to.
It will likely be useful to keep in mind the quite specific mission being undertaken, as the most acclaimed trial attorneys may or may not be the best suited out-of-court strategists, and it will often be another counselor entirely that has a keen sense of business to guide enterprises to their maximal positioning.
From dissimilar viewpoints, people often say two things when they ask for a business card. One, “let me have your card, because I hope that I’ll need you one day;” and two, “please give me a card, but I hope that I’ll never need it.” Perhaps the former person views the need for an attorney as a moment where their business model has further blossomed, and the latter imagines the law card is a path to coping with some seriously unfortunate occurrence. Regardless of whether it is a promising, prospering or bleak matter that is called to our attention, it is our mandate to approach each inquiry with eager responsiveness and full-spectrum consultation.
None of us wants to condone a dispute management system where one gets, “as much justice as they can afford.” The access to more readily-available information is assisting people-in-need to find the most appropriate professionals to address their urgent matters, and it is a good faith hope that clients and legal teams will continue to work together to make efficient resolution affordable, expedient and just for all.
Written by: Keith Haymes