Let’s be honest with each other. Clients do not know how good or bad their case is. All they really know is what their lawyer tells them, and how hard their lawyer appears to be working for them. Personal injury lawyers compete for clients and sometimes the ones who hold out the highest promises get the client even though the case is weak or merit-less. In such cases the day of reckoning comes when the jury returns a Verdict much smaller than the client was led to expect, or is given a small offer at mediation. The result is an angry client who feels like his lawyer lied to him, and makes for bad feelings against the legal profession in general.
I do not believe it is in my client’s best interest to candy coat their cases. As I said in an earlier Blog I do not believe in Veterinary law: my clients are human beings (not kitty cats or puppy dogs) and deserve to know what the law is and how it is likely to impact their futures. They deserve to get candor, honesty, and hard work. Not inflated evaluations, guesses and a legal mill.
It has been my experience that clients do not always want to hear the truth about their cases. When that happens, they are sometimes in a state of denial and do not like it when their lawyer is “up front” about their cases. They have the right to change lawyers and often do, thinking another lawyer who has higher expectations is likely to get a larger verdict or settlement. Lawyers owe a duty to their client to fight hard for their rights. Being candid about the real facts is a two edged sword: on the one hand they can’t make exorbitant promises, and then after the client is aboard, force the client to settle for peanuts.
So, when you are asking for an evaluation of your case, ask your lawyer what his experience with cases like yours has been, whether he has actually tried cases like yours and what the downside really is. You are paying for his advice and experience, not BS.