LAWYERS - THE PROFESSION PEOPLE LOVE TO HATE!

LAWYERS - THE PROFESSION PEOPLE LOVE TO HATE!

Recently the Charlotte Observer ran a Ziggy cartoon picturing Ziggy in front of his television. The announcer was saying 'OFFENDED by something somebody said? … Call Lenny Shadenfroid, Attorney at Law." While we all probably laughed at the cartoon, the sad part of the cartoon is that attorneys have lost respect in the community.

Is it because of television coverage of class-action settlements, because of the McDonald's hot coffee case, because of the unwarranted perception of too many medical malpractice cases, because of the idea of frivolous suits, too much television advertising and solicitations by attorneys? The list could go on and on. The answer is YES to many of these reasons.

In a recent North Carolina survey, only 23% of persons interviewed had a favorable impression of plaintiff's attorneys and 29% have a favorable impression of defense attorneys. 41% had an unfavorable impression of plaintiff's attorneys and 28% had an unfavorable impression of defense attorneys.

Many surveyed felt that even though criminals needed a strong defense attorney, too many guilty defendants are freed without ramification for the wrongs committed. In the day of corporate greed and high-paid executives and CEOs walking away with golden parachutes, it is no wonder that workers are angry at the system.

Most attorneys are very hard working, public citizens actively involved in their communities. As in any profession, a few bad apples ruin the barrel for the rest. The cases most heard about are unfortunately the attorneys that seek personal gain over the good of their clients or misappropriation of client funds. What the public doesn't know is that the Bar Association has a fund that all attorneys contribute to that helps make restitution for the "bad apples" in their profession. The public also doesn't hear about the ones who spend endless hours working with at-risk children, coaching little league teams, giving up weekends to coach the high school mock trial teams, active church involvement, running fundraisers for charities, and eating lunch with children in school monthly.

I recently visited an injured client at her home on a Sunday afternoon. It was rewarding and I got to meet her Mom and hear about how the accident had impacted her lifestyle and work situation. Her perception was that most attorneys don't care about their clients. After our discussion of all aspects of her case, she realized how complex our laws and court system actually are.

We frequently hear that everyone hates aggressive personal injury lawyers until they need one. If you are faced with a matter as serious as the death of a loved one or a permanent injury that may affect you the rest of your life, you should be satisfied that the lawyer you choose is experienced and capable of getting full compensation for you. If you think all law firms or doctors are the same, then you are wrong. There are many in the legal field that do care and do try to do their best. Ask the hard questions of any attorney you consult. Check out their reputations and results of cases they have successfully completed and actual judgments they have obtained. Check out how they care for their client's best interests, and if push comes to shove, will they be aggressive and go the distance on your behalf to achieve the best results. Don't just hire the attorney who has the best Yellow Pages ad, the slickest television commercial, or the one who writes solicitation letters.

Know your rights. You need your questions answered, have the law thoroughly explained to you and how to grasp and solve your problem.

(Written By Frances S. Knox)