I’ve been a lawyer since 1997 and started this company in 2001. When I did, I came in with two major values about how I’d run this service. First, I try to talk like a real person. I don’t always succeed, but it’s gross when attorneys try to talk all fancy with legal jargon to show you how smart they are. Second, I decided that if I’m going to give advice, I’m going to be blunt and honest. I hate when people are wishy washy or beat around the bush. You may not like what I’m going to tell you, but I’ll always tell the truth.
This brings me to a harsh reality that comes up in a lot of my phone calls. For lawyers who own a law firm – in other words, not the ones who work for the Government, a non-profit, a corporation, etc. – there is one main reason they are doing what they do.
Lawyers are in it for the money.
That doesn’t mean that they don’t like he area of law they practice in. They might be passionate about helping people. Deep down they are hopefully good guys. We hopefully are spending some of our work time helping people who can’t afford legal help.
At the end of the day though, they are running a business. You can feel empathy for someone who is struggling in life, but also choose not to give them tens of hours of free or discounted service in their custody case. A lawyer can recognize that a doctor treated you poorly, but choose not to file a case that they think isn’t worth the money they’d have to spend to bring a lawsuit.
“Don’t you care about justice?” is something I hear a lot. So is “So they can just get away with it?!?!” The truth is lawyers do care about justice, but not always to the extent that they will spend their work time fighting for it or for what you believe is just. The truth is also that some bad people get away with acting bad because our legal system is too expensive to do anything about it.
If a scammer rips you off of $1,500.00 and the police won’t help you, your realistic choices are to sue them yourself in small claims court or walk away angry. It would cost too much to hire a lawyer. In a worse example, if a loved one is in jail and can’t afford an attorney, you are likely stuck with the Public Defender even if they are doing a terrible job. Attorneys don’t typically offer free help to those who have an option, even if that option is terrible.
With injury cases, dishonest attorneys who don’t think they can make money off of you will say something like, “I think you have a great case, but I’m too busy to take it.” It’s the biggest bunch of b.s. around. No injury attorney is too busy to take on a “great” case and if they were, they’d refer you to a buddy and make a referral fee. The truth is that they think your case sucks, or that they don’t think they’d make enough money off it to make it worth their time. If a lawyer ever tells you they are too busy, call them the next day and tell them that a loved one was just killed by a semi truck driver who was drunk. Their schedule will magically become open, and you can call them out on their lies.
There are of course exceptions to this rule. In general though attorneys at law firms are like any other business. They are trying to keep the lights on and put money in their pockets. It’s a sign of problems within the legal system itself and a product of capitalism. It’s not nice to say or easy to hear, but it simply is the truth.