Popular Misconception # 2: A Lawyers’ Ability Can be Determined Based Upon His or Her Win/Loss Record.
Approximately 95% of lawsuits end up being settled prior to trial. Therefore, if you look at an attorney’s win/loss record, you are probably only looking at 1/20th of his or her total body of work. Furthermore, a lawyer who has the guts and determination to take challenging cases to trial may have a much lower rate of success than a less competent attorney who folds at the first sign of adversity.
Almost all lawyers win some cases and lose others. A good lawyer fights zealously on his or her client’s behalf, and achieves a resolution that is fair to the client.
Popular Misconception # 3: Lawyers Thrive Upon Conflict and Confrontation.
Most of us are familiar with the stereotype of the loud, aggressive, and confrontational attorney. Contrary to popular belief, however, most lawyers have normal human emotions. Most of us do not like to argue, and we do not enjoy the stress that comes with conflict. However, we recognize that handling conflict is our job, and our clients count on us to resolve negative and stressful problems.
Also, keep in mind that being loud and aggressive does not necessarily translate into success in the courtroom. Actually, the best lawyer is most often the one who is the most knowledgeable, diligent and well prepared, and not the one who has the biggest mouth.
Popular Misconception #4: All Lawyers Are Incredibly Rich.
Most people take a look at the fees lawyers charge and assume that all lawyers make inordinate sums of money. In fact, although a lawyer may charge $250 per hour, it is impossible to bill for every hour that you work on a case. Consequently, a lawyer may end up working eighty hours, and only bill for forty.
Also, fee arrangements differ for different types of cases. In certain practice areas, an attorney’s fees need to be approved by the court. In certain cases, a lawyer may enter into a strictly contingent fee agreement with a client. If the lawyer fails to recover any damages on the case, then all of the lawyer's work goes for naught.
Those are just a few popular misconceptions. I’m sure that any lawyers who read this blog can probably think of a few dozen more. If you need to speak with a Massachusetts attorney, call our office today at (978) 263-7119 for a free consultation, or contact us online.