Nobody wants to spend money on a lawyer if they don’t have to. I certainly don’t and I understand the value that a good one can bring. If you do have to pay for a lawyer out of pocket – as opposed to a pay if you win case like a work injury or car accident – you want to know that you aren’t going to be wasting your money.
As a result and especially since these are tougher economic times, we’ve seen an uptick in people wanting to know the odds of winning their case. Others want a guarantee before they hire an attorney.
It’s a logical question and there are plenty of lawyers in Illinois who will answer that question. The problem is that in many cases those attorneys are lying to you just so you will sign up with them. They tell you what you want to hear and take it from there.
The reason I say that is in most cases after speaking with you we won’t have enough information to say how it’s going to go. For example, if you want to get custody of your kids, you can tell us all the positives about you and the problems with the other parent, but until we hear their side of the story, we don’t have a way of knowing for sure what will happen.
Or let’s say you want to sue someone who owes you $50,000. You’ve got a written agreement along with text messages saying they owe you and will pay you. I can’t give you the odds of winning your case because if they file for bankruptcy, your debt will likely go away.
What we can do is say that if certain things are true then it’s likely you will prevail. But real odds of winning are usually not known until you are in to the case a bit. We’ve seen times when it seemed obvious a defendant broke the law only to discover their actions were legal. Even someone rear-ended at a stop light could lose their case although those cases are often a slam dunk. If it was really dark and your lights were off, you might not win.
We are customer service focused so we and other honest lawyers will try to make educated guesses. That is usually alright to do. What you really want to avoid though is an attorney who guarantees a certain big result. They aren’t the Judge and they certainly have no honest way of telling you what’s going to happen. They can tell you about similar cases and how they were successful in those. But if they promise a result they are full of it and you should look elsewhere for help.