Recently, several states began permitting law firms to start advertising about their results in earlier cases. Historically, this was forbidden since it can be very misleading to read only the skeletal descriptions of a case with a verdict or settlement beside it. Yet that is exactly what most law firms do. You will often see a chart that says information like:
|Auto Accident||2,400,000 verdict|
|Slip and Fall||600,000 settlement|
|Airplane Wrongful death||4,100,000 settlement|
|Truck Wreck||515,000 settlement|
What really are you supposed to make of this? Was the truck wreck case one that involved terrible injuries, so that this was a major disappointment to the client, or was it actually an amazing result for someone who suffered only a few cuts and scrapes?
Was the auto accident one where the fault was clearly against the defendant, or did the lawyer have to take on major league adverse experts to prove how the wreck happened, and exonerate his client or others? And you better read the fine print carefully, because at least one lawyer’s website lists results like this that are not even for that firm’s clients! They are just ‘results obtained recently in personal injury cases’ by – who knows?!?
At best these charts recall what a wise old lawyer once said, that “the easiest way to get a one million dollar verdict is to start off with a 3 million dollar case and screw it up.”
At Swope, Rodante, we can produce a chart of case types and recoveries that would drop your jaw. Our firm has, over the past 10 years or so recovered several hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients with catastrophic injury and bad faith claims. But honestly, that is not how you measure an attorney’s results. At least not for us.
As you can read elsewhere, we measure our results by how well we are able to restore each individual client and family to the best possible recovery for their entire lives. This requires money, of course, and often lots of it. And it is our job to get all that anyone can for you.
But it is also to help connect you with professionals to set up structures for the recovery to protect it against financial uncertainties, and to provide support for your entire life- which hopefully will be far longer than anyone expects. It is our job to keep you current on the case, to not let it drag on longer than it should, and to make sure that every decision in the case is made with ONLY your best interests being considered.
That is what we count as our results. Ask that question of your potential lawyer, to see if they have even stayed in close touch with their clients whose cases were closed five or ten years ago, and if so see what difference their legal claim has made in the recovery of their lives. That answer may tell you an awful lot about your lawyer’s actual results for his or her clients.