High-Quality Legal Representation
At its best, the modern-day American justice system is a sophisticated procedure that reflects the evolution of human civilization—a complex methodology that values truth and justice above all else. High-quality legal representation is one of the factors that distinguish this from experiencing injustice at the hands of technical jargon and unsubstantiated claims.
To arrive at a point in any situation where legal services are necessary, there are often high stakes involved—be it civil or criminal. By hiring high-quality legal representation, one is able to ensure fairness and proper accountability with a good probability of the desired outcome.
Of course, when requesting any service or product, the word “high-quality” is preferred. But when it comes to potential legal consequences, legal representation is one area where high-quality advocates are not just preferred but necessary.
What Defines High-Quality Legal Representation?
Being a lawyer is often correlated with a success rate, but this is not always an accurate way of defining high-quality legal representation. While it is a good place to start, there are other important factors you must consider when choosing legal representation.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, becoming a lawyer takes around seven years of full-time study, which consists of four years of undergraduate study followed by three years of law school.
Additionally, many states and jurisdictions also require the completion of a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).
Attributes to Look For in Legal Representation
However, completing seven years of training does not necessarily make a good lawyer. Wondering how to choose a lawyer that’s right for you? There are many variables that come into play such as the individual’s moral compass, intelligence, attention to detail, ulterior motives, or personality defects, to name a few.
Aside from the proper accreditation, these attributes are what you should look for when seeking out legal representation:
- Analytical Skills: Few cases are black and white. With the large amounts of information that attorneys are given per case and the possibility of several conclusions and applicable precedents available, it is important that they have a firm grasp on how to properly evaluate and analyze the provided information to best suit the needs of the client.
- Advocacy Skills: No matter what situation, your lawyer must always be in your corner as your support system. Before you step into the battle of litigation, it is important to know that your lawyer will fight for you. If you do not trust your potential lawyer, do not hire him or her.
- Strong Verbal and Written Communication Skills: A large portion of an attorney’s life is spent writing and speaking. In order for your case to be properly articulated to judges and juries, your lawyer must be able to speak persuasively and write concisely. Charisma also helps in court.
- Strong Listening Skills: It all begins with listening. In addition to writing and speaking, listening is another important skill for a lawyer to possess. You should feel heard and acknowledged. You should also feel confident in the fact that every detail of the case and court proceedings were absorbed by the lawyer so they can make the best possible judgment based on the facts provided and situation at hand.
- Expertise in a Specific Field of Law: You may have a lawyer friend who is willing to help you out for a particular case. But, for example, if you are filing a criminal case and your friend is a divorce attorney, do not hire him or her. Find someone who is well versed in or considered an expert in the field of law and legal services in which you are involved.
- Strong Interpersonal Skills: While the connection between a lawyer and client is essentially impersonal and professional, it is important that the lawyer attempts to build a relationship with their client. Though somewhat immeasurable, it is important to feel connected to your legal representation. To put it casually, if you do not vibe with a lawyer, then maybe they are not the right lawyer for you.
- Assertiveness: You want someone who will be firm and assertive in the courtroom. Mind you, there is a fine line between assertiveness and aggressiveness. A lawyer who is assertive can strongly and confidently get your case across while a lawyer who is aggressive may negatively impact the opinions of the judge and jury. You want a lawyer who will fight for you with grace, not with rage.
- Creativity: Just like humans, no two cases are alike—X does not always mark the spot. Lawyers must sometimes utilize creative or outside-the-box problem solving to outwit their contenders.
- Perseverance: Though a cliched adage, the phrase “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is particularly relevant here. The bureaucracy of the justice system can often be time-consuming and will sometimes fail you. That’s why it is imperative to have a legal representation that will not give up, because the final verdict is not always the final outcome.
- Compassion: Entanglements with the justice system are often extremely personal and sometimes involve great loss or the potential for great loss. Unfortunately, (especially in books and films) lawyers are sometimes depicted as heartless, but they are not all this way. Find a lawyer who cares about your case or your cause. Do not settle for someone who is simply in it for a payout.
Why High-Quality Representation Matters?
According to the article, “Why High-Quality Parent Representation Matters” published by the American Bar Association in 2013, lawyers must “build trust with their clients, who are going through a tremendously difficult situation.”
The above statement was made by Erin Sullivan Sutton, Assistant Commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, who oversees policies that promote economic stability, child safety and permanency, childcare, child support, and successful transition for immigrant families in the state of Minnesota.
In this interview, she discusses the importance of high-quality legal representation and the real-life implications and effects it can have on a case.
In her field of children and family services, proper legal representation can mean the difference between a child remaining in a home with their family or being handed over to foster care—and it is not always clear which one is better.
She mentions that “quality legal representation for parents helps hold the child welfare agency accountable for its responsibilities. It helps the judges make good decisions and look at issues from not just the perspective of the child welfare agency.”
This is why it is important to hire high-quality legal representation. While clients are often under duress, it is crucial to give them a voice that is knowledgeable, reasonable, logical, concise, compassionate, and convincing.
In the end, she simply states that “ultimately, quality legal representation for parents helps children and families.”
How to Find High-Quality Legal Representation?
So, you have decided to hire the best possible legal representation for your particular case. Now what? Though a seemingly daunting task, there are several resources available for your needs, and thanks to the internet, it is now easier than ever.
Below are a few resources for finding high-quality legal representation.
- Personal Referrals: Talk to community members who have faced the same legal challenges you are facing. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon, as well as social advocacy groups, are also great resources for finding proper legal representation.
- Online Directories: Your lawyer could be just a search and click away. While you will be introduced to a wealth of options through directories, be sure to always do your research once you’ve identified your choices for legal advice.
- Business Referrals: Businesses, both big and small, often find themselves interacting with the justice system. For instance, if you are seeking counsel in financial law, talk to your accountant, banker, or insurance agent.
- Lawyer Referral Service: Type “lawyer referral service” into your browser and hundreds will instantly appear. While it is easy to just choose the first one that comes up, it is important to research each one as not all are created equal. Reading client reviews are a helpful way to select the right legal assistance.
- Ask Lawyers You Know: If you know any lawyers, ask them for advice. It doesn’t have to be legal advice, especially if they do not practice the type of law you are seeking, but they usually interact with or are aware of a vast network of attorneys and can help steer you toward the right one.
- Local Law Firms: There’s no harm in simply looking up local law firms specific to your needs. However, be sure to interview more than one to get an idea of your options. Again, reading client reviews are also helpful.
- Nonprofit Organizations: Depending on your case, a leader or employee of a nonprofit organization specific to your cause may also be able to help.
Looking for a lawyer may sound intimidating or challenging, but it is important not to settle for less than you deserve. Meet with other lawyers, ask questions, and do your research before deciding your legal representation.
It may take time and cost more than you think, but you will be glad you invested the hours. Because in the end, high-quality legal representation can greatly affect your case—and in some instances, your life.
“This blog article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for client- and fact-specific legal advice from a qualified attorney.”
All About Law. What Makes a Good Lawyer. https://www.allaboutlaw.co.uk/stage/non-law-final-years/what-makes-a-great-lawyer.
Attorney At Work. Five Traits of Great Lawyers. https://www.attorneyatwork.com/five-traits-great-lawyers/
American Bar Association. Why High Quality Parent Representation Matters. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_interest/child_law/resources/child_law_practiceonline/child_law_practice/vol_32/march_2013/why_high_qualityparentrepresentationmatters/
Nolo. How to Find an Excellent Lawyer. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/find-lawyer-how-to-find-attorney-29868.html