Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Why are attorneys so selective of which clients they represent?

We see it in the news, a report of police brutality followed scoobysteven11/02/17
Because most cases lack sufficient legal merit, or there's n actionbronson11/02/17
A case in the news likely has some merit or at least, the pu superttthero11/02/17
That nurse who got beat up by the cop and it was on video al fettywap11/02/17
Depends on the lawyer or the firm. Many are in a race to the esquire13811/02/17
I take cases that have legal merit. They're immigration case isthisit11/03/17
The way I assess a case, in order: 1) how much money can I m thirdtierlaw11/03/17
In an initial consultation you should figure out if the clie cocolawyer11/03/17
What do you say to politely withdraw from taking their case nyclawyer11/03/17
Honestly, start charging for consultations(and then refund o esquire13811/03/17
This sounds like a personal issue. If attorney's aren't cal pauperesq11/03/17
1 - I don't work with crazy people or *ssholes. 2 - I don' dingbat11/03/17
Not everyone whonis those things is easy to spot upfront. Ma esquire13811/03/17
and that's why I don't do litigation dingbat11/03/17
Because attorneys want to get paid. Many solo and small patenttrollnj11/03/17
scoobysteven (Nov 2, 2017 - 12:31 pm)

We see it in the news, a report of police brutality followed by reports of attorneys clamoring to represent the victim yet a victim, absent any news coverage yet has a video depicting the incriminating act, cannot elicit even a return call. My question is, do attorneys prefer to represent only those cases with “sex appeal” or public scandal?

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actionbronson (Nov 2, 2017 - 12:55 pm)

Because most cases lack sufficient legal merit, or there's no financial incentive to take on it. Usually it's some combination of both.

Edited to add that many potential clients just give off a vibe that they are unstable and/or have unrealistic expectations for the outcome of litigation. Experienced attorneys typically have developed a nose for problem clients.

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superttthero (Nov 2, 2017 - 1:24 pm)

A case in the news likely has some merit or at least, the public exposure puts extra pressure on the other side to settle. Winning a very high profile case is also equivalent to advertising.

That being said, stop watching TV. This is a small number of attorneys, most attorneys either take all clients if they are new or struggling, or choose clients based on the cases' merit and whether or not the client looks like they are going to be a pain in the ass.

If you are not getting a call back from attorneys, it likely means your case is crap. Most clients don't want to accept this and they think they are going to be avenged in court if they can just find Erin Brockovich, but that's a fantasy. If you can't get an attorney, chances are, you are coming off as a deranged loon or you have a garbage case (bad facts, no proof, defendants with no pockets).

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fettywap (Nov 2, 2017 - 1:42 pm)

That nurse who got beat up by the cop and it was on video all over the news just got $500,000. If she hadn't been on the news, she'd be lucky to get a $20,000 settlement. Which case would you rather take?

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esquire138 (Nov 2, 2017 - 4:56 pm)

Depends on the lawyer or the firm. Many are in a race to the bottom and actually market that fact. It varies.

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isthisit (Nov 3, 2017 - 12:23 pm)

I take cases that have legal merit. They're immigration cases so they're all flat fees.

If you're giving me sh!t facts that don't fit into the legal rubric than GTFO.

This would be different if I was doing PI or crim.

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thirdtierlaw (Nov 3, 2017 - 1:14 pm)

The way I assess a case, in order: 1) how much money can I make 2) can I work with this client 3) can this case lead to more money in the future? 4) how busy am I vs the amount of money that is expected to come in.

Money rules all. But I have passed on clients that I thought would not be worth the headache, no matter how much they are paying me.

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cocolawyer (Nov 3, 2017 - 2:45 pm)

In an initial consultation you should figure out if the client is worth representing.

1) If a potential client pushes back, or easily anger, then run. They are on their best behavior on the initial consultation. If the best behavior is that you will be miserable dealing with him. They are also the most likely to write bad reviews, or make a complaint to the bar.

2) If a client tells you that have to borrow the 200-300 for the consultation, decline. You will never make money on this client. They have no access to monies and will likely be upset when you file a motion to withdraw a month into the case.

3) If the client has money and is not a douche, then I ask does this individual have unrealistic expectations. If he does and you can tell he is unmoved by what you are telling him in the consultation...run. This is the client that gets great results but its short of a unrealistic expectation and murders you in reviews.

If you have 1 and 2, then no amount of money is going to make it worth while to represent that client.

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nyclawyer (Nov 3, 2017 - 3:24 pm)

What do you say to politely withdraw from taking their case (keeping in mind you don't want a bad review online for this)?

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esquire138 (Nov 3, 2017 - 3:58 pm)

Honestly, start charging for consultations(and then refund ones you don't take and apply to cost of representation those you do, but don't advertise those facts). Weeds out the "Cry online for no reason" types pretty quickly. Also makes your office stink less from their unwashed kids.

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pauperesq (Nov 3, 2017 - 4:37 pm)

This sounds like a personal issue. If attorney's aren't calling you back, it's because 1) they don't think your case has merit or 2) the settlement value is too low. A third consideration, as others have mentioned, is you come across as a pain in the a$$ who isn't worth the inevitable aggravation.

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dingbat (Nov 3, 2017 - 9:12 pm)

1 - I don't work with crazy people or *ssholes.
2 - I don't work with people who are cheap. Nothing wrong with cutting costs, but don't be afraid to pay necessary costs

I don't do litigation, but, I know litigators who won't take a losing case. If they don't think they can win, they make sure the client is willing to settle.

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esquire138 (Nov 3, 2017 - 9:34 pm)

Not everyone whonis those things is easy to spot upfront. Many are but not all. And unlike most jobs quiting even if unpaid is a headache in and of itself too due to court rules. And clients who say they will do one thing often change their minds mid case or go from sane to nuts out of emotional knee-jerk responses to the other side mid trial. But yeah get out the obvious bad apples first. Hellyes.

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dingbat (Nov 3, 2017 - 10:53 pm)

and that's why I don't do litigation

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patenttrollnj (Nov 3, 2017 - 10:24 pm)

Because attorneys want to get paid.

Many solo and small firm attorneys have a big problem trying to get their client to pay their bills. Criminal cases in particular are a big headache, because many of these criminal defendants don't have the cash.

When I took my first CLE as a young lawyer, the lady that did the criminal law segment pointed out the questions you should always ask first in order to tell if your client has the money to pay you.

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