Biernbaum & Meyer Legal Blog

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

End of 2016 Missive: Most Important Attorney Personality Trait and How to Choose an Attorney

As 2016 comes to an end, it's time to assess our personal and professional lives once again.  Since this is a professional website, a professional assessment is in order.  Looking back on 38 years of practice, one of the most important attorney personality traits is being absolutely candid with prospective and existing clients as you give them advice.  Never tell a prospective client what they want to hear for the sole purpose of making them paying clients as you will regret it later when they realize you were not truthful with them.

As difficult as it may be, your job is to guide people through whatever legal predicament they find themselves in, and convince them to follow your advice.  Input from the client and consideration of their wishes is an essential part of the process, but it should not control how the matter proceeds.  Learning how to accomplish this is especially difficult for a young inexperienced attorney who is  trying to build a client base, and desperately needs clients to pay the overhead.  Despite these challenges, it is essential that the advice given is good honest advice at all times without any ulterior motives.

Clients should be suspicious of attorneys who only emphasize the upside of their case without any of the downside aspects.  Even a good case has weak points which should be addressed.  Remember, you are consulting with an attorney to be enlightened and educated, not to confirm your opinion and assessment of the case.  

Choosing the right attorney is not an easy task as we are barraged today by many different sources of information including websites and social media.  Word of mouth is "old school" but still may be one of the better ways to obtain names of attorneys to interview.  It is important that you are comfortable with the personality of the attorney you are hiring, and that direct communication with the attorney by telephone or E-mail is not an issue at the outset. 

The bottom line is choosing someone as your attorney who has your back by telling it as he or she sees it instead of what you may want to hear since in the long run, this is essential to a successful attorney-client relationship. 



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