A Good Lawyer Guide
Being a good lawyer is not about knowing the law.
A lawyer is supposed to know the law. It’s in their DNA, their training and their experience. Knowing what the law says is essential for anyone who wishes to advise a client, but it is what you do with that knowledge that makes the difference in being a good lawyer.
I could find you hundreds of Acts of Parliament, and thousands of legal cases which set a precedent to show what the law is. That is memory and research. All well and good, but if you are a lawyer you have to have a client. The client’s needs are everything. What does the client need to know about the law? Well, that may vary, but the job of a good lawyer is to explain the law to their client in the way that they understand. I aim to keep my explanation of the law as basic as possible. I may know far more and can certainly find out stacks more, but the client generally does not need to know where the law comes from, they just need to know what it is and how it affects them. If they do need to know more then they can ask. An important part of this process is to listen to the client. I cannot explain what the client needs to know if I do not listen to find out what they want.
So the job of a good lawyer is all about communication, to explain the law to their client and then use it to help them.
As a personal injury lawyer dealing with cases of serious injury, it is important that I identify the types of compensation my client is entitled to and obtain and use evidence to justify the claim that is made to the negligent party’s insurer. If rehabilitation is needed then I can use the law to ask the insurer to meet payment for it. Compensation can be obtained to recognise pain, but can also be used to pay for treatment, or care, or equipment that will make the life of the injured person better.
In my cases, I have obtained payments made ahead of the end of the case to pay for spinal, knee or hip operations. I have arranged Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to deal with stress, anxiety and depression. I have also appointed a Brain Injury Case Manager to fully understand and implement a plan to deal with the problems caused by an acquired brain injury. I have arranged Initial Needs Assessments to know the sort of help my clients’ need. All of this is applying the law for the benefit of my clients.
At each stage, I will try and keep my client informed of progress, of the things that are going well and the things that are not going so well. There are always problems to solve, manage or accept. I cannot wave a magic wand to make those problems go away, but I can explain the impact of the issue on the client and ensure that they understand how it will affect them at the end of the case.
A good lawyer needs to give great customer service. If they do, the client will know the job they asked for has been done to the best of the lawyer’s ability. They cannot ask for more than that.
David Boobyer is a partner at Tollers Solicitors and a specialist in catastrophic injury cases such as head and spinal injuries. He is a member of MASS and APIL. If you have suffered as a result of an accident and would like to explore the possibilities of making a compensation claim, then call us now on 0333 414 9123