The kind of lawyer you hope the other guy has

It’s not always easy to tell if the lawyer you’ve hired is right for you. If you’re wondering if you’ve chosen wisely our (slightly) tongue in cheek Guide may help you to decide if you’ve ended up with the kind of lawyer you hope the other guy has.

“A lawyer’s advice is his stock and trade.” – Abraham Lincoln

Good lawyers are objective and dispassionate about your case. Bad lawyers will make it their mission in life. A lawyer we knew was so zealous about his client’s cause he laid in front of a bulldozer to stop demolition. He got run over!

Good lawyers tell you what you need to know. Bad lawyers tell you what you wannt to hear.

“Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.” – Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Good lawyers usually achieve the best results with logic, persuasion and charm. Bad lawyers bluster and bully. Strangely, the latter approach rarely works in a courtroom. Of course, at times a firm stand is called for. But an empty vessel makes the most noise.

Good lawyers get the facts right and research the law before expressing their opinions or bursting into print. Bad lawyers shoot from the hip. In their haste to impress their clients they will issue ultimatums or even writs before getting the facts straight – often to the ultimate disadvantage of those whom they represent.

Good lawyers express your opinions to you in dollar terms; bad lawyers talk in terms of matters of principle. You won’t thank your lawyer for promising you the earth and delivering only a fat bill.

“Lawyers are like rhinoceroses: thick skinned, short-sighted, and always ready to charge.” – David Mellor

Good lawyers are upfront about their fees and render regular itemised bills. Bad lawyers obfuscate – or even make you feel embarrassed about asking.

“Speak English! I don’t know the meaning of half those long words, and I don’t believe you do either!” – Eaglet to Dodo in Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Good lawyers speak and write plain english. Bad lawyers talk in tongues. If you can’t understand what they say or write, chances are no one else will either. Tell-tale signs:

  • archaic Latin expressions
  • long words, long sentences and long paragraphs
  • pompous or condescending language
  • words in inverted commas or excessive capitalisation.
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