First Thing We Do…

Many people are familiar with the William Shakespeare quote, “first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” And everyone has heard at least one lawyer joke. Setting aside obviously crooked lawyers, why do so many people think “lawyers stink” in general?

Forced Interaction and a Bill

Perhaps a key reason people don’t like lawyers is that, faced with a situation they’d rather not be in, they have to ask someone for help who doesn’t seem particularly accessible and whose words of wisdom are often followed by a bill.

Lawyers can’t go back in time to undo a person’s bad situation, but a good lawyer can help a person through such a situation with a minimum of hassle.

Lawyers as Peacemakers

Lawyers help people, corporations and governments resolve conflicts without violence.Think about it. Without a legal framework, the person or entity with the most physical power necessarily winds up on top.

Every lawyer—even those who represent tobacco companies, sweat shops, or serial killers— helps society resolve conflicts with less violence.

Lawyers assist clients in navigating the judicial system towards a goal rather than by waging war or other violent means to an end.

This seems like a positive quality to me; one that might justify NOT KILLING all the lawyers.

Help for People

Corporations, as legal entities, have lawyers for their mothers... and those mothers always look after their babies.

What about lawyers for regular people? There will always be excellent lawyers for the likes of O.J. Simpson.

The problem, for the rest of us, is the old question, “how much justice can you afford?”

Contingency Fee for Me

Many people simply cannot afford to pay the $100 to $300 per hour rate that most Seattle lawyers charge. And almost everyone would prefer not to.

Fortunately, in some areas of law, lawyers will work on a contingency fee— meaning that the lawyer is paid only after a positive outcome for the client.

Most of the work I do is on a contingency fee. While some of my clients might be able to pay me on an hourly basis, no one has ever complained about not getting a bill.

Who Gets Helped?

Unfortunately, not everyone can be helped by a contingency fee attorney. For instance, criminal lawyers and divorce lawyers are ethically prohibited from representing clients on a contingency fee.

Recently, ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, State Farm Insurance and other members of the American Tort Reform Association have sought laws restricting contingency fees. Note that none of this legislation would affect the ability of corporations to obtain legal counsel. Corporations don’t need contingency fee attorneys.

Most of my clients are bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers who have been injured in collisions.

I occasionally represent people who have been injured in unsafe places or those whose insurance companies have acted in bad faith. I also am a court-appointed settlement guardian ad litem.

I understand that my clients seek representation because they are in difficult situations, usually for no fault of their own.

I think that my job as a lawyer is to help my clients understand their options and to work to resolve their situations in the way that is best for them.

If you need legal advice, please call us at (206) 262-9290 or e-mail bob@andertonlaw.com.

 

by, Bob Anderton

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