(cont. from this past Monday’s blog post – “Finding the Right Attorney, Part 1 of 4: Experience”)
In my last post, I had laid out four distinguishing features for finding the right attorney and those were: (1) EXPERIENCE; (2) PERSONABILITY; (3) PASSION; and (4) AFFORDABILITY. We already tackled the first important feature of finding an attorney who is experienced and focused in the particular type of case and practice area that your matter concerns. So, let’s move on to the next distinguishing feature you always want your attorney to be: PERSONABLE.
Right off the bat, I know that some attorneys would start attacking the point that the right attorney is someone who is personable and would throw their own reasons at me like, “being nice doesn’t prove anything about someone’s competence as a lawyer” or “personality traits have nothing to do with how well you analyze, argue and make a case!” Of course, I would agree, in part, to these statements as well, as being an attorney is mainly about analyzing the facts before us, applying the law and, given the law and facts, finding ways to better position our clients than they were in before in the most cost effective but most beneficial way possible, be it with formalizing a written agreement, complying with certain protocol or battling it out in mediation or court. So, I get all of that. But when I say that the right attorney is one who is personable, I really mean that the right attorney is someone who really cares about you, your case, how you’re feeling in relation to the case and the welfare of you and/or your company. So, if you end up getting an attorney who never seems to call or email you back, or rarely checks in with you about your case/matter on a regular basis, yes, it’s probably because he/she is busy or your matter may not be of top priority at the law firm at times, but not all the time. And I know you get this too. Sit back and think for a second on how responsive and interactive your last few attorney(s) were and compare them for a sec. Have your experiences with each of those attorneys been pleasant and memorable? If not all the time, and you’re thinking about that one attorney who you felt was a bit rude and douchey at times, then it’s probably the case that all the other attorneys who had to work with him/her, on the same side or on opposing sides, felt the same way as well. And if that’s the case, do you think anybody else would want to “work things out” in the best way possible with Negative Nancy Esquire? Who’s to say that that because of that attorney’s personality, your legal representation wasn’t as effective as he/she could be, as lawyering also involves people skills, both in communicating and negotiating. Negotiating, whether it be behind a contract deal or in mediation and court, is its own art and science. So, please make sure that the attorney you pick is one who is personable.
Check out the attorney’s bio and resume, and see if there’s anything in there that makes him/her feel human, be it with having a particular hobby, having special interests, being part of a charitable cause or being part of some other extracurricular group or activity. Does the attorney have social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn? What do those profiles indicate his/her interest? What’s out there on the web about this particular attorney? Do a Google search and look at the first five pages of search results. Is this attorney the type of person who would call or email me back within 24 hours? Is this attorney the type of person who does care about people, and would care about me? Would I be seen as a person or a dollar sign by this attorney if I chose to retain him/her as my lawyer? And etc.. All of these questions are questions that you should be asking when looking for that right attorney. Yes, EXPERIENCE is important, but PERSONABILITY is just as important. Serious. Being real. All of the jackass and troublesome attorneys I’ve met were all socially awkward, inconsiderate and stubborn simply for the sake of being stubborn. One would think that these kind of attorneys are more cutthroat and aggressive, and thus more effective with representing someone in a contract deal or in court, but it’s actually the contrary that’s really true. When we attorneys come across these kinds of attorneys, instead of feeling intimidated or “scared”, a lot of the times we just simply shake our heads in frustration and desperation, and immediately tune them out. We’re humans too. Why would we subject ourselves to baseless rudeness or lack of social etiquette? We wouldn’t. Haha, so what might seem to work by choosing the meanest attorney ever, may probably fireball and screw you over. In any case, bottom line for this post: The right attorney is someone who you think respects you and communicates with you at all times.
Talk to you tomorrow for the next post, “Finding the Right Attorney, Part 3 of 4: Passion“. =)
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