Client Satisfaction...Not Just About Results
It is understandable that most potential new clients who call us are primarily focused on results and likely outcomes in their case. Questions may include “What is your win rate?’ or “Can you guarantee a dismissal?” or “What are my chances of winning my DMV hearing?” While the answers to these questions are important, there is a bigger picture that is relevant.
Choosing an attorney based upon positive answers to the above questions may not be a good idea. Unfortunately, I regularly hear stories of unprofessional attorneys giving false expectations of success by giving misleading information on supposed “win rates." It is easy for an unscrupulous lawyer to prey upon fears and unrealistic desires to persuade someone to hire them. One example involves a fairly high profile law firm in Los Angeles telling people that they get DUI charges dismissed in 95% of their cases. Any intelligent person would understand that this is misleading or inaccurate.
I invited a potential client who had consulted with this firm to call them back and get details about this claim. It turned out that the claim was based on their success rate in getting one of the two counts in a DUI case dismissed. What they conveniently left out was that most of their clients were convicted of the other DUI count.
Most people charged with DUI face two charges, Section 23152(a) “driving under the influence of alcohol” and Section 23152(b) “driving with a .08% or above." One of these charges is routinely dismissed in any plea bargain. In fact this happens in almost 100% of cases. This law firm used this information to give the misleading impression that the entire case would be dismissed.
There are other considerations that should be taken into account when hiring an attorney. Reputation is key. It is easy to obtain information on an attorney’s reputation by going to Yelp or Google reviews. How an attorney treats his clients, and how an attorney has made a difference in actual cases, and to peoples lives is now readily available on the internet.
The most common complaint about attorneys is that once hired, they forget about their clients. They do not return phone calls and can be rude when asked routine questions. Cheap lawyers tend to have a lot of clients, and lots of clients translates to very little time spent per client, and only a limited amount of work being spent on each case. It can also result in missed court dates and warrants being issued. I have been hired on too many occasions where the client had already had such a bad experience with a lawyer.
In choosing an attorney, it is recommended that you stay away from lawyers who give easy expectations of success and focus on the lawyer's experience, on-line reviews, and reputation. There should be confidence that the lawyer is going to spend the necessary time defending the case and that phone calls are going to be returned promptly. Most importantly, you should feel respected by the attorney and feel that he or she is honestly and directly answering questions and is not being evasive.
At Gold & Witham, we never want to have an unhappy client. We pride ourselves in always being responsive to our clients and reducing stress by always keeping our clients updated and informed as to the progress of their case. Of course, results are important too, but success only comes through hard work, not cheap promises.