Many times I meet potential clients and find myself extremely disappointed in some of the things they tell me in their efforts when hiring attorneys. As the profession becomes ever more crowded and the competition ever more fierce for clients able to afford representation it has become increasingly common to hear of two practices when interviewing potential clients, disparaging the competition and making unfounded promises.
One of the most disturbing is the defamation of the competition. Commonly now I have clients come to my office and tell me what this attorney said about that attorney. I hear about attorneys literally telling potential clients why they should not hire another attorney. Not only is this disturbing on a professional level but a blatant misrepresentation by the person so desperate for business that they seek it not by their own efforts and credentials but by slandering the competition. The bar monitors the behavior and the ethics of attorneys very diligently and a potential client has access to more information regarding potential attorneys than ever before. When an experienced and professional attorney begins to sway your decision at the expense of their peers it reeks of desperation and unprofessionalism; in fact, they begin to sound like a used car sales man and not the person you are going to hire to represent you in some of the most import moments of your life.
Another disturbing practice are the promises and guarantees, which are not only unethical, but utterly untrue. I have done hundreds of cases and I assure you that no attorney can predict the outcome of a case with certainty. Yet often people come to my office and talk about so and so who knows this or that judge and feels certain that that relationship will sway the case. This is not true. The laws, the precedent and the preparation of your attorney sway the case. There is not a judge in the state of Georgia who is going to go outside of those factors for political or personal reasons; and if they do, they will soon find themselves removed from the bench. Personal relationships and glad handing the bailiffs do not win cases, knowledge and preparation wins cases.
Remember that as you hire an attorney you are a consumer and approach this investment as you would any extremely expensive purchase. And remember, this is not simply a purchase but you are hiring someone to guide you through very difficult moments. Do you want a gossip and a salesman or do you want a well informed and qualified professional to handle these matters?