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Bad Lawyers Negatively Impact The Market For All Lawyers

I recently posted about an important issue.  Do bad lawyers generate more work for everyone?  Based on an experience with a company re-staining my cedar deck at home, I suggested that bad lawyers do create market profits for other (even good) lawyers.  I was not promoting bad lawyers.  And my observation about bad lawyers caused me no  pride.  I always tell new clients that we can only prey that the other party hires a good lawyer.  I dread bad lawyers since they drive up my client's costs for no good reason. Responding to lawyer bullshit, fighting about non-issues and dealing with bad lawyer excrement does nothing to advance the ball for my side.

Luckily, I received several comments to my observation which cause me to reconsider my concerns.  Here is one comment that is worth bringing to the front page.  RJon Robins took up my challenge, and made this counter-argument to my premise that bad lawyers increase profits for all lawyer.....


Do bad lawyers drive up the cost of legal services? If you were a Bar Official concerned with the legal industry on a macroeconomic level, or a robotic economist concerned only with the raw quantity of hours the answer would probably be, "yes."

But if you are a solo practitioner, or even an individual rainmaker in a larger firm, who is interested not only in the quantity of work you have, but also the quality then the answer is decidedly "NO."


You stated that ". . . bad lawyers drive up profits for good lawyers." I have to respectfully disagree with you on this point as well.

What in the heck am I talking about? How can there be more work, but less profit? Let me explain...

Bad Lawyers create bad client experiences. Clients with bad experiences of lawyers often postpone or delay seeking the services of a good lawyer until it's either too late to do anything, or else nearly impossible to achieve good results.

Good Lawyers who can't achieve good results because of the delays by clients to seek counsel or mistakes made by previous counsel, often end up with a share of the blame; Even though it's not their fault.

Consequently, two of the three most valuable things a good lawyer can get in exchange for doing good work for his/her client never happens: Referrals & Appreciation. And sometimes it's even hard to get paid. But it gets worse. . .

You took the time to understand what went wrong with your deck. Decks are pretty simple to understand & you were fortunate that the Deck Dr. had the good sense & knew how to explain the situation to you ahead of time. As you pointed-out one of the things that makes a bad lawyer, well...a bad lawyer, is the ham-handed way s/he manages client communications & expectations. The Deck Dr. may have gotten more work because of the previous shoddy job, but it took him more time, energy & money to overcome your reservations about who to hire to refinish the deck, or maybe just scrap the whole thing & use some other material altogether.

In other words, a client who has a bad experience with a bad lawyer is going to be more apprehensive & the good lawyer is going to have a more difficult time assuring him/her that this time it will be different. And besides, it's not always so easy to tell what's wrong with a legal case from just looking at it, like a deck. And last but not least...

We've all had the experience of helping a client to achieve a mediocre "best of a bad situation" result, when we know we could have done so much more if only previous counsel hadn't screwed it all up or the client had come to us earlier. I don't know about everyone else reading this, but I always find it difficult to get all charged-up and put on my Rainmaking Hat to go out a Make It Rain on days like that.

Sorry for the crass commercial message, but if I don't say it for myself, who will? If anyone reading this is interested in learning some practical & proven small firm management & client communication skills should take a look at Turning Your Clients Into Gold


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