Like any other profession, the law profession has its highs and lows. As a professional lawyer, much is usually expected from you by the nation, the society, and even your clients. You are under constant pressure to hold high professional ethics, meet client expectations, and handle a myriad of things all at once. As such, you are supposed to have impeccable communication skills, strong research skills, and an ability to persuade your clients to see your position while still ensuring that you don’t lose the client to another law firm.
Despite this, there are high moments which give you a sense of fulfillment and keep you inspired. It’s surprising that some of the traits which are key in guaranteeing you a career growth in the industry can as well play against you.
Below are three valuable traits which are quite positive but may sometimes land you in big trouble.
The experience is quite crucial in any professional career. It increases your value, thus making you indispensable. No wonder experienced attorneys have piles of work while fresh-from-college lawyers struggle to get simple legal projects to work on.
Experience will make you be trusted by clients, help you know the ins and outs of law practice, and distinguish what works from what does not. You will also have a comprehensive picture of the area of advocacy you are dealing with and thus you will spend less time preparing a complex case as compared to less experienced lawyers. Thus, it’s important to make every effort to acquire as much relevant experience as possible.
But this experience can sometimes work against you. If you are a well-established attorney with lots of experience, you may find that clients are flocking in with all sorts of cases and requests. I know the immediate action after realizing that the demand for your services has increased is to raise the consultation fee.
But still, you may find that you are overloaded with lots of work. You may thus be tempted to give less level of thoroughness to these cases than you used to. You may also assume certain legal requirements and fail to ascertain their applicability in the case you are handling. If at the end of the day such a case fails, the client may decide to sue you. You may thus find yourself on the wrong side of the law trying to challenge the accusations leveled against you.
If you are well known to win even the most complicated of cases, the expectations of the clients will also rise to almost unrealistic levels. Therefore, you may not necessarily have failed to win a case due to negligence, but it could have been quite sophisticated for you to persuade the jury to see your point of view. Or still, the defense attorney could have more than sufficient evidence and thus grounds your point of argument.
All these scenarios may leave the client feeling annoyed and may decide to sue. The best way of avoiding such unfortunate circumstances is knowing what you can safely take at a time and insuring yourself against legal liability.
Exuberance differs from experience in so many ways. It is a common trait among young lawyers trying to make it in the law field. These young professionals make every effort to be thorough in their legal projects and ascertain every legal clause before putting it as part of their argument. It’s, therefore, essential for those young, enthusiastic lawyers keen on making it in the law career.
Such in-depth preparation and research equip these young professionals with an ever-increasing wealth of knowledge which will prove indispensable in the law field. Experience, on the other hand, is an already accumulated set of skills, knowledge, and intuition which comes as a result of years one has spent in the law field and the type of cases such an attorney has handled.
Balanced exuberance is an important trait in law practice. But sometimes, one may find that they have an excess of it which is also quite beneficial. If you have ever handled a case where you could not relate such a case with past cases, then you know what I’m talking about. You will feel that you need to do more research than you have ever done before, consult with more sources, and verify facts. In such legal cases, no stone is left unturned. Such thoroughness can actually contribute highly in beating your opponent in the courtroom and thus is essential.
Exuberance becomes risky in legal practice when such enthusiasm to win a court case is not backed with sufficient pre-court preparations. Your energy, cheerfulness, and ebullience may not serve to push your side of argument further if you can’t point to legal clauses or show evidence which lines up with your point of argument. Worst of all, you may end up making mistakes, including logical fallacies which have no much legal bases.
Mistakes do happen and the pressure to win the case may be quite high. Clients might retaliate, direct their disappointment to you, and drag you in malpractice lawsuits. Malpractice coverage for lawyers by Balsiger Insurance may come in handy in such situations and thus cover the legal costs associated with such malpractice lawsuits. But the most important thing is to do your best to stay away from some of these accusations as they will safeguard your reputation and keep your credibility high.
3. Overpromising and Under-delivering
If you have interacted with clients, you know that you are sometimes pressured to use a sales language to get them to sign the legal contract with your law firm. Like any other person who is keen on driving the profitability of their firm high, you may find yourself overpromising. This trend is common in those law firms which are struggling to get clients. It could also happen when the client has a premium contract which guarantees your law firm lucrative amounts of money.
It’s never the wish of any ethically sensitive lawyer to under-deliver. Every professional lawyer does their best to meet and even surpass the expectations of their clients. But the circumstances in the legal practice are not always within the control of the attorney. There are certain external factors which may negatively affect the projected outcome. In such cases, the client may feel short-changed and may even terminate the legal contract or take legal actions against the firm.
While overpromising is part of marketing and can generate new legal contracts, it’s crucial that you carefully scrutinize the contract to ascertain that you can meet the expectations of the client. If it’s not possible or there is a likelihood of unprecedented outcome, communicate this with the client before signing the contract.
As a professional lawyer, you should be prepared to handle any challenge which you encounter while practicing law. It’s also important to understand your limits and always work within the confines of professional ethics. If you ever find yourself in big trouble while practicing, don’t take it negatively, but use it as a lesson to improve your legal practice.
Hyper-exuberance and over-promising from inexperienced/young lawyers is a serious problem. They don’t know, what they don’t know, and hence can be ‘dangerous’ to potential clients. Many also cannot nor will not self reflect and/or be introspective. They believe their own lies.
I agree that thoroughness is an essential trait for any lawyer to have. I’m interested in looking for a criminal defense attorney soon because my sister recently got in trouble. It seems that she got roped in with the wrong crowd and might be charged with accessory to robbery if things don’t go her way.