Can I Trust a Lawyer?
Can I trust a lawyer? It’s a question often asked. Lawyers do get an unfair hearing by the public and the press. Yet, why should they? We don’t need the list the negative words here, most people already know them. Where do they get this negative image from and is there no such thing as a good lawyer?
Of course, there is. Anyone worth their salt would know that there are good and bad apples in every occupation. Although you should never allow a minority to taint the majority.
A lot of negatively surrounding lawyers is a complete stereotype. Much of it created by Charles Dickens in his 1852 serialisation of Bleak House. All the negatives have been handed down from a previous century. A good hit at the time, Bleak House became ingrained on the public psyche. The main theme running through the story is an interminable legal case, Jarndyce and Jarndyce. Dickens uses this case to satirise and criticise the English judicial system. However, Dickens was justly criticised for embellishing the story (as he did with all his stories!) and was judged to have written an exaggerated satire. It made no difference however, because by the 20th century the stereotypes we know today were already widely accepted as culturally secure. Even though none of them were true.
Lawyers, like taxi drivers, earn a livelihood. Is that wrong? No one likes to see a taxi driver duped and not paid by a passenger. Lawyers just want to be paid too for a decent day’s work. Take Kev’s Cab Live From Liverpool – he streams a lot of his journeys live to Facebook, not for entertainment but for his own protection against negative stereotypes about taxi drivers. There are certainly many negative stereotypes about lawyers. Can you trust a lawyer like you trust a taxi driver to get you home?
Of course, you can. Trusting a solicitor to handle a case is integral to a successful attorney-client relationship. If you can’t trust a lawyer, they can’t do their job and win a case. Remember that in criminal cases, a lawyer puts forward a client’s case as best they can, even if the lawyer suspects that the client is withholding information. However, if a client then confesses guilt to a lawyer, the latter must stop representing them because of a legal duty not to mislead the court. Therefore, TRUST is integral to a lawyer. Yes of course there are bad apples. Take Phil Shiner, the disgraced Iraq human rights lawyer recently struck off over making false abuse claims against British soldiers. He has a terrible reputation which tarnishes the profession for many.
Yet because of the system we all live in, we have the rule of law which protects everyone. That means even the most hardened criminal receives fair and just legal representation. Just as Oskar Pistorius received a defence team that would defend and trust him implicitly, however much you view the details surrounding the controversial case. Much of the urban myths surrounding lawyers therefore comes from highly emotive prosecution cases of high profile gangsters and dictators.
But just as important, we need honest as well as competent lawyers whom are good at their job. We need lawyers who act in our best interests, who put their client interests above their own. We believe 99% do and will work hard to complete a case.
If you’re looking for decent lawyer, do your due diligence yourself online:
1. Look at their website
2. Do they have an active social media presence?
3. Call them up?
4. View their premises. Often you can tell a lot by the building they occupy. Does it look like a shop or does it look like a professional office?
5. Check to see if a friend, acquaintance, or colleague knows them
6. See if they have any online reviews
7. Check local blogs or media news to see if there’re any bad stories about them online
8. If you find a lawyer and you are happy, check with them to see if they use paralegals. At PHC Law we don’t. You have the full attention of a qualified solicitor.
9. Discuss costs with them. Do they offer No Win No Fee?