The benefits of retaining a competent attorney in California are the topic of this blog post.
The benefits of retaining a competent attorney in California as early as possible when you are involved in litigation are the topic of this blog post.
This blog post is the fourth in a four part series and will describe in detail the advantages of searching for and hiring a competent attorney in California and the disadvantages of making the wrong choice in hiring an attorney.
Advantages of retaining a competent attorney in California.
I cannot emphasize this enough that not all attorneys necessarily possess the same level of competence and skill nor will they necessarily engender the same amount of respect from opposing counsel or the court. If you hire a competent attorney with a good reputation, that will impress the opposing counsel or the opposing party which will usually greatly increase the chances of obtaining a satisfying settlement or result. Astute attorneys will “size up” their opposing counsel as soon as they can. If they respect the opposing attorney your chances of a favorable outcome will increase. If however you hire an attorney that does not have a good reputation for being competent the opposing attorney will discover that fact very quickly and their lack of respect for your attorney will hurt your chances of a favorable outcome. It may also result in your paying more attorney fees because the opposing attorney may be more likely to see what they can “get away with” causing your case to languish if your attorney doesn’t know how to speed things up.
The plain and simple truth is that irrespective of principles of justice, if the attorney that you hire has a good reputation with other attorneys and Judges as being competent, that will go a long way towards convincing the Judge that your claim or defense has merit. That also means that they are much more likely to give your attorney the “benefit of the doubt” which will greatly improve your chances for a favorable outcome in those inevitable situations that arise in litigation which are basically “close calls” where a reasonable Judge might rule either way. You might be surprised how often these “close call” moments arise. On the other hand if you hire an attorney that does not have a good reputation as being competent, the Judge is much more likely to be skeptical that your claim or defense has merit and may rule against you in these “close calls.”
If you hire a competent attorney, you will avoid pitfalls such as where an attorney that is less than competent may sabotage your case unknowingly even though your case has merit. That can result in the Judge taking such a negative view of the merits of your case that they rule against you in critical junctures to shut down your case. There are some Judges that may feel either consciously or subconsciously that someone who hired your attorney who has a bad reputation only hired them because they could not find any competent attorney to take their case. That is not a good position to be in at the starting gate of the litigation process.
Even if your case has a lot of merit, if your attorney is not both competent and diligent you may lose, or wind up spending more money in attorney fees to get the same result than you would have if you hired a competent attorney.
There are many arcane and obscure rules involved in any litigation that need to be followed such as deadlines, statutes of limitation, notice, etc. If these rules are not strictly followed that can have very negative consequences. For example if your attorney misses a filing deadline, that can result in you losing your claim wholly, or at the very least paying more both in time and money than you needed to. You may also wind up paying the price both in possible sanctions or even worse losing a case that you might have won if you had hired a competent attorney. Being sanctioned with penalties or even losing a case should not have to be the reason you wish you hired a competent attorney early in the litigation.
In one instance, an attorney refused to acknowledge that the Lis Pendens that they had recorded against real property was not allowed based on the law and facts of that particular case and this resulted in the clients of the attorney being sanctioned $6,000.00 by the court. A competent attorney knows that they need to carefully research and apply the applicable law, both case and statutory to the individual facts of the case. If the attorney that you hire is either not competent or not diligent enough to do the proper legal research you may wind up being ordered to pay sanctions as a direct result of their lack of competence, or even worse losing your case and having a judgment entered against you.
Another hazard to not retaining a competent attorney is that they may make so many mistakes and unknowingly sabotage your case that you will find it extremely hard if not close to impossible to find a competent attorney to take on your case as the competent attorneys may not want to have to “clean up” the mistakes made by your previous attorneys. While the law is somewhat forgiving of some mistakes there is always a price that has to be paid, and that price is usually in both time and money.
How do you gauge for competence? Ask! Listen closely to your attorney as they describe the next steps they plan to take in your matter. Remember there is a difference between “hearing” and “listening” to someone. Do they sound confident about the specifics? Can you ascertain the ability of your lawyer to predict the future accurately based on next steps? If your attorney can draw a picture of how events will unfold within a reasonable tempo with a step by step rendition of what next steps will look like and what responses are available, this is the absolute best predictor of whether your attorney is competent.
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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