Everyone within the legal industry has their own approach to what makes a successful lawyer or businessperson explains William D King. Some say success is about knowing your customer and tailoring services around those needs, whilst others believe it’s about results, whether you’re helping someone win a multi-million-pound court case or negotiating an exclusive sponsorship deal for your company that gives you the budget to change lives.
On LinkedIn Pulse, an article appeared today by Jonathan Segal titled “10 things your lawyer wishes you knew about the law”. The original post can be found here. I read this article and was instantly interested as it seemed like it could be a good career move to apply for work in the US.
The article itself, however, is heavily flawed and riddled with factual errors. Here are just ten of them:
1) “Lawyers should not be sued for malpractice unless they do something wrong.”
Wrong. Lawyers can be sued for anything that goes wrong during their time advising or representing you, whether it’s the result of something the lawyer did wrong or simply because they didn’t properly carry out their side of the bargain (the latter being known as negligence). If you want to learn more about this read “why people sue lawyers”.
2) “You don’t need a lawyer to give you legal advice.”
This is flat-out false. Whilst anyone can call themselves a “lawyer” and go around offering legal advice, the only people who can give you actual legal advice (i.e. suggestions on what would be the best course of action for your given circumstances) are lawyers that have been appointed as either a solicitor or a barrister by the Law Society in England and Wales, and both solicitors and barristers licensed to practice law before the Supreme Court of Judicature of Northern Ireland. That said, many people choose to take their own path through life – this is not something we will advise them on as it’s illegal for us to do so without being licensed as such.
3) “Lawyers don’t just sue other people; they’re sued too.”
As mentioned above, this is not true. If anyone could sue a lawyer they would, as it would be an easy way to make money from someone else’s success.
4) “You can’t do anything about a deadbeat lawyer.”
Wrong again – certainly in the UK you could complain to the Legal Ombudsman who will investigate your complaint and take appropriate action. In England and Wales, their details are The Legal Ombudsman explains William D King.
5) “Lawyers can’t fix anything but lawsuits.”
In the UK, a lawyer can help with anything from buying a house to helping you divorce your husband/wife or settle an argument within your own family. In England and Wales, any work that falls outside what is known as “advocacy” requires a separate license which we have obtained. This means we cannot represent someone in court for non-advocacy-related cases. However this does not mean you must go to court either – there are many other options available e.g. writing a letter of complaint (a lot less costly than hiring lawyers), mediation (getting both sides together on neutral territory to sit around a table and come up with their own solution), etc.
6) “Some lawyers are crooks; that’s why you need to research and find one that isn’t.”
This is misleading in that in the UK, like Australia and most of the rest of first-world countries. Lawyers are not allowed to advertise their services. This means you will never see an ad on TV or in a newspaper for lawyers (unless it’s for paralegals that do the actual work) but make no mistake about it – they are out there! The best way to find one is through word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family; if they don’t know any then ask them if they still have holiday brochures leftover from last year (most people use travel agents instead of doing all this themselves these days) as chances are some of them will have a lawyers’ brochure in there somewhere says, William D King.
7) “Hiring a lawyer is expensive.”
Not necessarily – if you’re going to court then yes. It will be expensive as the only way to reduce your costs is to not go ahead with the case and pay as little as possible. For all the work that has already been done. However, if it’s simply advice you need or legal documents. Such as contracts, wills, etc you require assistance with. Those are typically charged at an hourly rate which can vary depending on how much experience your solicitor has. If your budget is tight we may even be able to sort something out where our first few hours of work would be free. And after that, we would charge no more than £60-£70 for any additional work completed.
8) “Lawyers will tell their clients what they want to hear.”
In a way, yes – a lawyer’s job is not necessary to take your side. But rather be realistic about your chances of success, lay out the facts as they are. And let you make your own decision from there. That being said, we also have a duty of care towards our clients. So if we do believe that something isn’t worth pursuing then it’s important. That at least one party knows that going in. Saying no upfront can save us all a lot of time and money down the line – especially yours!
9) “You need to find a specialist lawyer or you’ll get ripped off.”
While this may be true in some cases, it’s not always the case. A lot of solicitors these days have a wide range of knowledge and experience in many different areas of law. If you’re not sure whether or not your case would fall into a specialist area. Then simply give us a call and we’ll be happy to advise you.
10) “Lawyers are all the same.”
This is probably the most dangerous myth of all. As it can lead people to make poor decisions about their legal affairs. Which can often result in them losing money, time, and even relationships. Lawyers are individuals just like you and me, with our own strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. Does your homework, ask around, and find one that suits you.
There are some things that are always true about lawyers. Mostly because they’re all regulated by law explains William D King. However, the above list is by no means exhaustive. And there are many more myths out there that people have built up over time.