I have often heard clients say “We do not hire law firms; we hire lawyers!” So, who do they hire? They tend to hire someone they like and trust, and who knows their business like the back of their hand. But beyond that, what makes a “good lawyer?”
I recently attended a meeting with an insurer with whom our firm has a relationship. A number of areas were covered, including the relationship between the insurer, outside counsel and insureds; the importance of compliance with litigation guidelines; the company’s claims handling philosophy; and the importance of timely communication with both the insurer and insured. Then, we heard from a claims officer who had recently read some wisdom on what makes a “good lawyer.” She shared the article with us; it provided some useful reminders (although the original author and publication are unknown). If you know who first penned these words, let us know!
The Good Lawyer
- Is always honest and truthful.
- Listens to the client.
- Knows who the client is, remembers who the client is, only represents the client, and does not surprise the client.
- Communicates with the client.
- Is the messenger, not the message.
- Is willing to tell the client or prospective client that the law sometimes does not offer a remedy to every particular problem.
- Explains everything to the client in terms that the client can understand.
- Has a positive attitude, but does not promise success.
- Always honors the attorney-client privilege.
- Is always alert for potential conflicts of interest and investigates and resolves all potential conflicts before undertaking any representation.
- Becomes knowledgeable about the applicable law and facts with regard to the client’s case.
- Maintains their objectivity about their client’s case.
- Never underestimates an opponent and never embarrasses anyone.
- Treats everyone with the respect and dignity that the lawyer expects to be treated.
- Strives for excellence. Excellence with humility in the representation of the client.
- Is diligent, persistent and relentless in the pursuit of representing their client.
- Adheres to the highest professional and ethical standards.
- Is proud of being a good lawyer and how they serve each of their clients.
In response, please share your own thoughts on what makes a good lawyer.