Choosing a lawyer

John J. Nazarian
November 4, 2007

SharksMuch of the time when we pick a school, a place to eat, a particular car, or even clothing, we want the best we can afford…this is human nature. And when we get sick — for those of us with medical insurance — we will try and pick the best hospital and doctors for our medical issue.

Now how about this, you ready? When you go to some of these huge law firms, you go thinking that the legal beagle whose name is on the letterhead is going to represent you through one of the worst times in your life ( it has been said that death is easier than a divorce), but you are most likely wrong! Laugh out loud and roll around on the floor for you thinking this! Oh, you will get to see the pretty offices and the well decorated meeting rooms and the nice waiting rooms, and you should! It was all those before you who paid for all this and more! When you meet with the “Letterhead,” you will be made to feel wonderful…after what you have been through this will seem good to you! You know, ” ‘I am going to nail him to the wall,’ my lawyer said,” and on and on! Then the reality sets in on you: you will be dealing with some super junior member of the firm who would not know the judge from the clerk, and if not for the uniform, the bailiff! In the auto industry this is called “bait and switch.” Don’t get me wrong here people, THE partner or one of the other partners will take an interest in your case, as with all the others, when they review the work of the juniors and bill for that time. That will be the .20 .50 2.50 fractional hours on your statement…and those numbers will be as numbing as getting hit with a fast ball!

Not all firms do this. I have seen Sorrell Trope of the very prestigious law firm, Trope and Trope in court doing his magic, and even after all these years he knows how to get the court’s attention. How about Lisa Meyer, she is the founder of Meyer, Olson & Lowy, and her famous “grifter” comments about just that, the grifter you married! Both of these people are amazing to watch and listen to, and both head large firms and both are seen in court fighting for their clients all the time. And when it comes to family law, Sorrell has too many years of experience to count, and the twinkle in his eye gives even me a sense of comfort.

Sole practitioners like Bob Cohen, Mark Kaplan, and Ros Soudry are examples of some tough and very experienced lawyers who have developed relationships based on credibility and a strong sense of integrity, and most of all knowing the ropes of practicing family law. Bob has a very comfortable presence in court, and this is appreciated by the judges who dont want to hear “blah, blah, blah;” he deals with the truth and keeps the facts on the table…and believe me, it is appreciated. Ros, what can I say about Ros? She is a tough cookie and a formidable adversary. Ros practices on both coasts, and if you are in trouble and need to “put the trash out,” you won’t be disappointed!

In giving the examples above, I am just setting you up for keeping track as to who you hired and who you get doing the work. I have seen clients go in to meet with the partner, and the partner has no real idea what my client is talking about! He does not know because he was not working on this case, DUH! And how about when a lawyer you have not met shows up for an appearance! LOL, how many of you have had this happen?

And when you see your lawyer show up in court fumbling with papers, dropping them, and then typing madly on his laptop….folks we have a problem! You know what? The judge and the court see this, too. I just watched this very thing in court the other day, and I will be bringing my updates to you. I will evaluate lawyers and judges based on my thoughts and from all of you keeping me updated with your cases and or experiences. I want THE DIRT, THE GOOD, THE BAD, and we will put it out there for others to read and comment on….this will be done my way!

How about this, if your lawyer looks like he or she just fell out of bed, and their shoes look like they polished them with a stick of butter, that too is not good! Some lawyer’s offices look as if a paper bomb went off, and others look very organized. I am a neat freak…my cars, my home, my shoes…I like order, order is a good thing! Order in the Court and a lawyer who is in order cannot hurt. When I think of paper bombs, I think of an office that always looks just like that; however, he or she knows were everything is and goes right to the pile and finds it. Again, not my style or a style I am comfortable with, and I am always concerned with something being missed. This stuff is important to you and your future, you are fighting for your life — and in some cases the future of your kids — and you have a right to expect everyone YOU are PAYING to understand that!

UPDATE: see my response to Jenny’s comment below here

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