Lawyers Need An “Off” Button
Even L.A. Law Had Some Great Ideas on Law Firm Management

Do Bad Lawyers Create More Work For The Rest Of Us?

Last year, we had a company called Deck Defenders clean and stain our deck. By this year, the deck was a mess and the stain was actually peeling.

I just finished talking to the guy who is going to do our deck this year. He works for Deck Doctors (talk about trademark issues). We were talking about how much clean-up work he had to do for this other company and the fact that he was actually getting bad-will as a result of the closeness in the company names. I told him to change the name. But as we thought about bad-will, we ended up thinking about the increase in demand for services as a result of the clean-up work Deck Doctors has to do for jobs done last year by Deck Defenders. After discussing it, we agreed that the bad quality by Deck Defenders actually increased demand for services.

Do bad lawyers drive up profits for good attorneys? Of course, the answer is yes. The real question is what are the qualities of a bad lawyer. A bad lawyer simply argues about everything for no other reason than he/she is being paid by the hour. A bad lawyer never tells their client how they are going to win the case or achieve the client’s goals. A Bad lawyer keeps their client in the dark and tells the client not to bother them. A bad lawyer fails to prepare their client for deposition.

Do bad lawyers drive up the overall cost of legal services? Of course they do. I dare anyone to suggest to me that it is otherwise.

Comments

Aaron

I agree with you unless (as risk of pushing up the overall cost of blogging services) there is some kind of prize or cash reward for taking you up on your dare. ;-)

RJON@HowToMakeItRain.com

I WILL RESPECTFULLY TAKE-UP YOUR CHALLENGE:

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."

--ALSO--

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...


THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY
Bad Lawyers create bad client experiencecs. 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. . .


BAD LAWYERS RUIN THE FUN FOR THE REST OF US
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.


CRASS COMMERCIAL MESSAGE
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

Respectfully,

Lonely Mother

To the Person that Posted this Blog , YOU ARE CORRECT ! " I just came from The Bronx Criminal Court in NYC yesterday . "There is a huge and big difference b'twn the " 18-B , Legal Aide Attorneys compare to those that require a hefty retainer . This 18-B Lawyer court appointed of course didn't do anything to help me. He kept me in the dark. he failed to return my phone calls, I'm a Victim of Domestic Violence and disabled due to domestic violence. He never requested any of my witnesses to come to court etc, etc. He didn't even prepare a good "summation" , I could have delivered a much better "closing arguments then he did. Even The Court Officers and the judge Looked Disgusted with him . Let me also Point out this is a 6yr Long Custody case in IDV Court. What a Nightmare ! and a Let down.

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