Warren Buffet says integrity is the most important trait to hire for 1. The same holds true when hiring a lawyer. You want a lawyer you can trust, not only to get you a favorable result (which no lawyer can guarantee), but who will be honest with you about the direction of your case. Using Warren Buffet’s 12-question analysis, here are the things you should look for in an attorney.
1. Attorneys should tailor advice to your specific case. Attorneys draw on their experiences, but should be learning from them, whether good or bad, so that they can tailor advice to your unique set of facts, rather than treating you like another cog in the wheel.
2. Attorneys should not be afraid to be challenged. They should be able to respond to questions with professionalism and confidence.
3. An attorney should respect the judges, but not fear them. An attorney should respect the law, but not be afraid to argue a different interpretation of law. Bad court decisions must be challenged if they are to be overruled. The first attorney to challengePlessy v. Ferguson was most likely considered a nuisance by the judge, but his efforts eventually led to Brown v. Board of Education.
4. An attorney should not “break the rules.” Especially the ethics rules that guide our profession. Attorneys should practice with professionalism, which means respect of others and of rules, which are designed to protect our clients.
5. An attorney should never advise you to do anything illegal or unethical.
6. An attorney should maintain confidentiality of your conversations, but only to an extent. What you tell an attorney is confidential, but if you express an intent to do something illegal or harmful, the attorney is permitted to report it.
7. Sometimes tension between attorneys in cases occurs. Your attorney should handle that tension with professionalism, maturity, and class. A war of words may only end up costing you money.
8. Your attorney should keep you updated on every aspect of your case, return calls timely, and respond to emails timely. She should be honest with you about your prospects for success, the weaknesses in your case, and advise you on what you can do that [you have control over] to increase your chances of success in your case. An hourly-fee attorney should send you invoices regularly so you can see what is being worked on and how your money is being spent.
9. Your attorney should be honest with you, advise you on what she believes is a fair outcome (as well as the extreme possible outcomes), explain things in terms you can understand, and answer your questions.
10. Your attorney should never be willing to lie to anyone for you. They can be disbarred for this, and you will pay the price. You want an attorney who is honest to the judiciary. This does not mean that attorney will disclose your confidential communications, but do not trust an attorney who is willing to misrepresent something to the court or advises you to hide evidence.
11. Look at attorney reviews for signs of integrity, and be sure to read between the lines of bad reviews. Bad reviews may be written anonymously by people who were never even clients (or even former opposing parties) just to harm that attorney’s reputation.
12. Read an attorney’s peer reviews as well. Is that person respected in the legal community? If not, this could be a sign of a lack of integrity.
At Taibo Law, integrity is our priority. Give us a call today for an honest assessment of your case.