In today’s episode Chuck talks about some of the less professional lawyer ads out there. He explains why some of these commercials are misleading, and talks about Client Expectations.
Hi, how are you?
I’m going to talk to you about something, it deals with client expectations, and the Public’s expectation of lawyers. There’s a lot of lawyer advertising going on, some with some cute little jingles, some that I find offensive being an attorney, and having been an attorney for almost 31 years. They are effective, don’t get me wrong. Even my daughter can sing some of the jingles from lawyer commercials from TV. Obviously that bugs me but, let me take this one step further.
Nowadays the public’s perception is you get into a wreck, and all of a sudden there’s money for you. It’s not that simple. I wish it was that simple, it would make my job a lot easier. But there are so many hoops that have to be jumped through before you have a case. First of all, you can’t value a case the second you walk in and talk to an attorney unless you are done treating medically, you’ve got all of your medical bills and records in front of you, and there is no question of liability. Or is there there is a question of liability due to comparative negligence; are you partially at fault, are you mostly at fault, are you not at fault? These are all things that take time to be able to figure out.
If you are in an accident, don’t expect a check within a week because it is not going to happen. I think there’s a jingle that goes along with that. Again, a long time ago when I first started practicing back in the 80s, things were a lot different. But the insurance companies have, they’ve gotten smart. They know that some law firms that advertise a lot have to turn files and have to quick settle the cases to keep the money coming in to pay for the advertising. So they will short settle a case, or settle it too soon, just to keep the cash flow. You won’t get the full value of the case when that happens.
I have a lot of cases in litigation, which means I filed a lawsuit to determine the full extent of the damages, to determine the full extent of liability of the “bad guy”, and all of this takes time. I think the average lawsuit that I have seen in my life as an attorney is probably two years, or two and a half years. I’ve had one that was four years old, I’ve had one that was five years old. It all takes time.
So please, if you have a mishap, or are involved in an accident, don’t expect to walk into an attorney’s office and have a check the next day because it just doesn’t work. I’ve had some cases that have actually been relatively quick because I’ve been able to get my hands on medical records, billing statements, and the accident report almost immediately. In those cases things have happened quickly, but that is usually not the way it is. So please, your expectations need to be more realistic, and these things all take time.