Not all lawyers are created equal
At the Law Offices of Eldridge and Nachtman, LLC, we pride ourselves on providing free legal consultations for our potential clients. The purpose of the consultation is to meet the client, discuss legal issues surrounding the case, and discuss our firm’s potential strategy to resolve the client’s legal matter.
However, in meeting with clients during my career, I have heard some disturbing questions posed by potential clients, that have obviously come from meetings with other lawyers. I never speak ill of other lawyers, however, it is necessary to discuss some of these topics, as some of these questions are violations of the Maryland Rules of Professional Responsibility, which govern lawyers’ conduct. It is also important for potential clients to know this information when shopping for a lawyer.
For example, during client consultations, clients have asked “What can you guarantee will happen in my case?” or “What can you promise me?” The Maryland Rules of Professional Responsibility preclude any lawyer from guarantying an outcome. A lawyer can counsel a client, providing a range of potential outcomes or possibilities given their experience, but never, a definite outcome.
The problem is that many lawyers, in an attempt to sell their services, guaranty an outcome they cannot produce. At our law firm, we discuss the real outcomes and possibilities with our client, so they have realistic expectations about what can, will, or may happen with their important legal matter.
JAIL TIME IS AN EXTORTION TACTIC
Likewise, many criminal lawyers use the possibility of jail time as an extortion tactic. Such lawyers believe that if the client or his family believes there is a strong possibility of jail time, then the family will pay top dollar for legal services. Just because a client is charged with a violation of Maryland Laws that has a maximum penalty that includes jail time, certainly does not mean the client will receive incarceration. There are numerous other factors that must be factored in when discussing the possibility of jail time. As such, be wary of any lawyer who begins a discussion of legal fees with “you know you get can jail time for this, right?” That is not to say that many cases we handle do not involve a period of incarceration, however, this is not a strategy we employ to gain a client’s trust. If there is a possibility of jail time in a client’s case, we discuss the potentiality, the amount of possible time, and the strategies which can be used to avoid it.
We want our clients to trust our advice, and understand the nature of the legal proceedings involved in their case. We tell our clients what we do for them, NOT why they should be scared!
Hiring a lawyer is a very important decision. It is not a decision you should take lightly, so make sure you Hire an ENLawyer who:
- has experience in the field relevant to your legal matter
- conducts extensive investigations into the crime
- requests discovery, which is permitted by the rules and reviews it with you
- investigates the law-enforcement officers who make the arrest
- conducts independent investigations and interviews all potential witnesses