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August 01, 2005

Are lawyers just kidding themselves about delivering true service to clients?

Reviews on lawyers always have ranged from architects of great nations and the world's commercial markets to necessary evils who add little value to any project. We are said to be manipulators with at best convenient notions of truth. And horror stories about our botched or inattentive services are legion.

True service to clients: are we delivering this and, if we aren't, can we talk about why?

1. Do we lawyers have a “we versus them” or adversarial mentality about clients when our main focus should be doing the job we promised to do and protecting clients from third parties or bad events -- the real “them” -- which would harm our clients?

2. Has lawyer camaraderie evolved into such clubiness that we have lost sight of the client’s primacy?

3. Do we regularly lie to and slight our clients? (Professionally, is that really any different than cheating on our spouses?)

4. Are there built-in barriers which prevent true service to the client? Are contingency fee arrangements with clients a built-in conflict of interest which can never be justified -- even in the name of “access to the court system?” When we work for the insureds of insurance companies, are we fair to the real clients -- the insureds? Will we ever put the interests of the insureds first?

5. Are lawyer jokes funny to us because they sound like the truth?

6. Has the overpopulation of markets with lawyers forced us into a free-for-all?

7. Do many of us wind up selling clients short because we are disillusioned or burned out?

8. In short, did we forget the main event -- the clients themselves?

What do you really think?

Posted by JD Hull at August 1, 2005 12:00 PM


I am mightily impressed with your examination of the legal field. I must tell you that I have met only few lawyeers that I like. Currently, I am suing my ex-attorneys, a prestigious large law firm in Pittsburgh. They did incompetent work in trying to defend me in a patent infringement case. I am embarassed to tell you how much I paid them in fees, but then they wanted another $98,000. We have a trial date set for Jan 25. I badly need an Expert to support my case. I have been looking for a maverick, but there aren't too many in the IP field. Any thoughts?

Posted by: bill voegele at November 8, 2009 09:28 PM

Look out outside of Pittsburgh--nice place but not a wellspring of new ideas and Moxie. Lawyer community is pleasant and talented but strives to not offend. Not a client town--not even for good ones.

Posted by: Hull at November 9, 2009 09:23 PM

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