We have a philosophy when it comes to recommending an attorney. Actually we have a few. But the overall one is that we try to recommend an attorney who gives you the best chance of success. These are attorneys who we would recommend to family members or friends. This for us means experienced attorneys who deliver great customer service and have a narrow practice focus.
That last part is the key. If your lawyer is handling car accidents and divorce and DUI’s and real estate closings, they are what is called a general practice lawyer. They are allowed to do that and those types of attorneys are pretty useful in small towns where there aren’t a lot of options. In a bigger city or even a medium size city though, there are a ton of great options for most types of cases and you’d really be making a mistake if you hired a jack of all trades type attorney or law firm. Not just in Chicago, but anywhere in the Chicago area, Rockford, Champaign, Peoria, Belleville, etc. For almost any legal situation you can find a lawyer who has a narrow practice focus and that gives you the best chance of a good result.
Not only does this type of attorney help you win your case, but it also greatly decreases the likelihood that they will commit legal malpractice and you’ll have to sue them. I recently took a continuing legal educational course on the subject and it turns out that almost every instance of legal malpractice in Illinois comes when lawyers dabble in areas of law that they really don’t have an expertise in. Again, an attorney is allowed to take any case which walks through the door, but that doesn’t mean that they should.
There are so many little exceptions to all areas of law and new cases coming out all of the time that it’s practically impossible to be up to date with all developments in a way that is in the best interests of your clients. Lawyers love money though so instead of referring cases out or declining to get involved they take a short sided view which is in their best interest only, or so they think. The most common legal malpractice case we come across is a lawyer who dabbles in personal injury and misses the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in time. They assume those cases are easy, discover that they are not and then end up getting sued.
In fact, I can only recall one case in the almost 20 years I’ve been an attorney where a lawyer who has a great track record blew the time limits for suing and that apparently was due to a clerical error by their staff. Most experienced firms though have a docketing system with multiple layers of protection which prevent those types of errors from ever happening. That’s a hard system to have in place when you try to handle everything that walks through the door. And there aren’t enough hours in the day to learn all the nuances to every practice area.
So we can’t guarantee you a result and no attorney wins every case. If they say they do, they are lying. We can though help you find the best attorney for you. And that won’t be a lawyer who will take any case which walks through the door. If you did hire a lawyer who screwed up, call us. We’d be happy to help you find someone to sue them. The only way these firms are going to learn to stop dabbling will be if they get punished for their mistakes.