Why personality matters when you hire an attorney-part 1 of a series

Why personality is so important when you hire an attorney is the topic of this blog post.

When you hire an attorney, you hire years of education, experience and also, personality. Of the three aspects of an attorney that you hire, experience is a must. Experience suggests a familiarity with the way things are done. This familiarity breeds competence, which in turn breeds confidence. Confidence is a personality trait so it should be clear that these three aspects of an attorney are in fact, interrelated.

Education is a given assuming the attorney passed their state’s respective bar exam. But education or the fact one is a licensed attorney means little if the attorney does not have a personality. Unfortunately, personality is the aspect that gets the least amount of fanfare in the assessment of an attorney. Usually though, and very fortunately, clients instinctively quickly get a feel for the personality of their attorney in the free consultation.

Is the attorney attentive? Is the attorney smart? Is the attorney organized? While all of these traits are very important, the more nuanced personality traits can sometimes be forgotten to be examined. The importance of retaining an attorney that is both aggressive on behalf of the client’s interest but is also open to reasonable settlement offers cannot be understated and that is the focus of this short article today.

Attorneys are advocates, schooled in fighting on behalf of someone else within a system of labyrinthine laws, protocols and procedures that would be daunting to anyone not familiar with the lay of the land. From drafting complaints and serving your adversary, to opening negotiations, and assuming they fail, preparing for mid-litigation motions (like motions for summary judgment), settlement talks, or even a jury trial, your attorney’s personality comes into play early on, and often.

I am reminded of the saying that information leads to knowledge, knowledge leads to wisdom, and wisdom leads to foresight, but information alone does not guarantee that one will achieve knowledge, wisdom or foresight. Nowhere is this saying truer than the way an attorney plans to handle your case. Your attorney may understand the weaknesses in your case, and know when to strategically settle if that is what needs to be done.

Typically, when clients shop for attorneys, they have aggression in mind as the most important quality. While aggression is important, far more important is determination, persistence and the ability to see the big picture. An attorney who is cordial with the other side, yet can advocate your position by hammering away on the other side’s weaknesses, while minimizing your own, will do wonders more than an attorney who blusters and bangs on the war drums, only to be casually eliminated or tossed aside in court, where the arguments matter, when the judge or jury shut him or her down.

So far, we’ve seen that confidence, persistence and the ability to see the big picture are large parts of the attorney personality equation. How does this figure into more nuanced studies on personality of your attorney and how it affects your case? Consider the following: You are involved in litigation where you are defending a lawsuit as a business owner. The other side is adamant, has filed and served its complaint, and desires to take this matter to jury at all costs.

You may be confident as a business owner that you engaged in no wrong. So you mount a vigorous and costly defense. You know that there are no statutory grounds for attorney fees if you win. You know that there exists enough good faith and probable cause that you can’t sue for malicious prosecution or abuse of process should you win on the merits, after a costly motion for summary judgment or jury trial.

So then?

I’ve sued the largest banks in the nation for vast sums of damages, sometimes in the millions. Even if the other side was adamant that they were in the right, counsel for the banks would sometimes offer $500 for me to dismiss the complaint. Even if this was an insult for my clients who were homeowners who were mistreated for years by poor mortgage banking procedures, there was a take-away. That takeaway was that there was a willingness to settle that I could not ignore, no matter how small the price was. I would take that small settlement offer and use it as a stepping stone for much larger settlements, many times in the tens of thousands, or for an entirely different settlement.

Had I been the aggressive attorney, with bluster, I would have cost my clients much of their hard earned money, by likewise becoming insulted, and shutting down talks, only to be met in court by a judge or jury who maybe simply didn’t see it the way my client and I did. So sometimes, the victory comes early, by settling, either as a defendant or a plaintiff – because it signifies a willingness to be reasonable, and reasonable people can always agree to get along and come up with a creative solution.

That would be another important personality trait to be on the lookout for when hiring an attorney, that of creativity.

Other articles will look at the importance of your attorney checking local rules of the court in which your matter appears, the importance of retaining an attorney a reasonable amount of time before the hearing instead of waiting until the last minute, and finally, the hazards of using a low priced “budget” attorney that quotes a low price, then ends up costing you more.

So how do you test for persistence, determination, ability to see the lay of the land and creativity? Simple. Schedule a free consultation today.

Call (800) 691-2721 and let’s talk about your options.

DISCLAIMER:

Thank you for reading. I hope I could have been educational as I endeavor to provide my knowledge as a free public service. Please note that all the materials and information on this blog are general analyses made available for the public’s general informational purposes only. These analyses are not in any way intended to serve as specific legal advice to be applied in your particular situation. Although I am an attorney, absent a signed retention and engagement letter, I am not your attorney. There are no exceptions to this rule. Moreover, you shall not rely on the information I am providing you, as it is only for your general knowledge and educational purposes, since this information would likely change based on any additional facts. Thus the transmission and receipt of information on this blog by anyone does not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. My knowledge of laws is limited to California. Anyone receiving any information on this blog should not act upon the information provided without first obtaining the services of professional legal counsel licensed in their respective jurisdiction. Best of luck.

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR NATHAN MUBASHER:

Law Offices of Nathan Mubasher
2621 Green River Rd, Ste 105 PMB 403
Corona, CA 92882
tel 1-800-691-2721 | fax 1-310-356-3660
www.mubasherlaw.com

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Author: nathanmubasher

Attorney Nathan Mubasher earned a post-doctorate LL.M. in International Financial Transactions with emphasis on Money Laundering and Compliance at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a J.D. at American College of Law, and his B.A. at University of California, Riverside. He is a member of the State Bar of California and is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in California. He is also an active member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the California Society for Healthcare Attorneys. He has performed over 1,000 mediations and has Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) training from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

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