NEVER SAY THESE THREE THINGS TO A LAWYER
If you are looking to retain a lawyer, here are the top three things in no particular order, you should never say.
1. "You are my fifth lawyer"
While it is certainly not unusual for clients to change lawyers occasionally, it should not be as often as changing socks. If so, this will typically mean that the client is simply looking to find a lawyer who tells him anything he wants to hear, which is not the basis of a helpful, or constructive, client lawyer relationship. Or it would also mean that previous lawyers decided to end the relationship, again not a good sign.
Of course, I am not suggesting that you deceive a lawyer, and not inform them that you had several previous lawyers. I am suggesting that you be open and honest about the past challenges with your previous lawyers, and discuss what can be done to make this, hopefully, your final client-lawyer relationship.
2. "Money is no object; it’s the principle that counts"
I have heard this expression many times throughout my legal career, and it sounds positive. But I have found in practice it usually translates into one of the following.
• Either the person saying it has no clue as to the potential cost of legal matters, or
• The person declaring that money is no object, has no actual intention of paying their bill.
I suggest, rather than making such a statement, that you take the time to ask a lawyer what is involved in their matter, and the potential range of costs.
3. "My next hearing is tomorrow"
This is a classic statement, typically mode by someone, who has paid little attention to their legal matter, until the very last minute.
Despite this fact, they will inevitably expect that a lawyer will be able to help them, somehow. It may be possible to adjourn a hearing, with the consent of the other party, or on the hearing date by way of court order. However, this is extremely risky because if the adjournment is not granted, the hearing will likely proceed, and the lawyer will have virtually no opportunity to properly prepare for the hearing.
If this sounds like something that you might say, I strongly suggest that you have the conversation, well in advance of the scheduled court date. It is strongly recommended to never schedule a court date without first checking to see if a lawyer is available to appear on that date.
With these three tips in mind, you have just improved your chance of finding a lawyer that’s right for you.