How Do I Get a Lawyer to Take My Case?
When you have decided to initiate a case, the first hurdle you might face is trying to get a qualified Ohio lawyer to take your case. Although many people believe lawyers are willing to file lawsuits for any reason, there are laws in place that could hold you or your attorney responsible for filing a claim if it does not have a good faith basis. For this reason, attorneys – particularly contingency fee attorneys – are selective about who they will take on as a client. If your case is complex or confusing, you may find it difficult finding an attorney willing to take you on as a client.
When you begin your attorney hunt, it’s crucial to know the reasons why lawyers reject cases and what you can do to strengthen your chances of a lawyer taking your case. This will give you the best chance of not only finding a lawyer – but getting the lawyer you want to take your case.
Here are some guidelines on what attorneys evaluate when considering whether to take your case.
Top Three Reasons Why Your Lawyer Doesn’t Want to Take Your Case
Contingency fee attorneys are picky. And every attorney has slightly different criteria on what he or she finds most important in potential cases. You may need to consult several lawyers before you find one that is willing to take your case (or one that you feel comfortable with). It’s important to remember that just because other lawyers reject your case that does not mean your case has no value. Our firm has achieved multi-million dollar results from cases that other lawyers have refused to take.
Other than an attorney rejecting your case because you want it done on a contingency fee basis (rather than paying an hourly fee), there are a few other notable reasons lawyers could be turning you down. Here are some common examples:
- The Statute of Limitations Has Expired
Lawyers may be refusing to take your case because the statute of limitations has expired. Or, more likely, your case involves facts that make it unclear to the lawyer evaluating your case whether the statute of limitations has expired or not. A statute of limitations is a specific law that sets the maximum amount of time within which you must file a lawsuit. Statute of limitations vary from state to state and depend on the type of claim. An attorney should readily know the applicable statutes of limitation to your case, but the facts of your case may make it difficult for an attorney to safely determine when the statute of limitation expires. If an attorney believes the statute of limitation could expire shortly, he or she may not want to take the risk of getting involved in your case. For this reason, it is always important to not delay seeking legal counsel if you believe you have a case. Come to the meeting armed with a timeline of the important facts in your case!
- The Lawyer Doesn’t Specialize in That Area of Law
Just like doctors specialize in the type of medicine they practice, most attorneys specialize their practices into a few main areas of law. In fact, we recommend you seek a specialist for your case rather than a general practitioner – because that way you can be assured you are dealing with an expert in that area of the law (not just an attorney who ‘dabbles’).
Cases involving personal injuries, death, or medical malpractice are particularly specialized. You will need an attorney knowledgeable on the insurance process, medical issues, subrogation, and litigation. If your case is complex or beyond the scope of that attorney’s practice, he or she should advise you that you would get better results elsewhere. Make sure you are searching out specialists who handle your specific type of case and answer the right questions, like who will pay the bills if you are sick or injured due to negligence.
- You Have a Weak case
After a lawyer has heard your plight and evaluated your case, he or she might refuse to take it on because they believe the case is too weak. That does not mean that you have not been wronged, but it could mean that the attorney does not believe he or she could successfully prove all the elements of a successful case. The attorney could have problems with the possible evidence in your case or that your damages are too minor to justify the expense and commitment of extended litigation. That’s why it’s crucial to ask the lawyer you are consulting with how strong your case is from the beginning. Most lawyers won’t take on a claim if there is a strong likelihood that it will be lost. But, just because one lawyer believes your case is weak does not mean that is the absolute truth. If you are committed to your case, pursue additional opinions.
What You Should Do To Get A Lawyer To Take Your Case
You cannot change the underlying details of your case, but you can follow a few general rules that could strengthen the likelihood of the lawyer you want agreeing to take on your case. Below we have briefly listed a few of the things that you should do when presenting a lawyer with your case.
Remember that you should always opt to go with a lawyer you trust, as selecting an attorney to represent your case is one of the most significant decisions you can make. Ultimately they will be a big part of your life while your case is underway, and you don’t want to be communicating with someone who does not make you confident in his or her ability to get the results you want.
- When trying to get a lawyer to take your case, you need to keep in mind that simplicity matters. You want to present the potential lawyer with an elevator speech of about 15 to 30 seconds detailing in short what your case is about – how you have been harmed and what the harm is. Lawyers, just like judges and juries, will need to understand the basics of your case quickly. If you present your case to an attorney and it is too complex or the details too challenging to understand, they will likely refuse to take it on.
- Ensure you have all your supporting documents ready to present to the lawyer as they will ask for them. Keep on hand all medical records, contracts, pictures, police reports, insurance reports, text messages, emails, and agreements. If you have these on hand, the lawyer will be more inclined to begin an investigation on your behalf. Importantly, you should also present a clear and concise timeline of the events that unfolded, as this will aid the investigative stage.
- It’s crucial to communicate with a lawyer clearly and politely. If you are too emotional, have an argumentative disposition, or are preoccupied with bad mouthing the individuals involved in your case, the lawyer might question your motives or believe you are too difficult to deal with. Additionally, if you have questions for your lawyer, it’s vital to prepare them beforehand and present them all together at the appropriate time to ensure the meeting runs smoothly.
- You need to ensure that you communicate your expected goals for the case upfront. Communicate reasonable expectations under the circumstances. If you don’t know what you expect the outcome to be, talk to the attorney and ask them what your case could be worth so that you are not disappointed later. If you have unrealistic expectations or are unwilling to lower your expectations, an attorney might not want to work with you because they might believe they could not make you happy even if your case were a success.
Get in Touch With a Ohio Lawyer Today To Discern If They Will Take Your Case
A respected and qualified lawyer at The Henry law Firm can help evaluate your case and determine its chances of success. We strive to always provide our legal clients with superb service to ensure their cases receive prompt and diligent attention from the beginning.
Should you keep in mind why lawyers reject cases and follow the simple guidelines of what you should do when seeking a lawyer, you increase your chances of finding a good lawyer to handle your case. If you are upfront, clear, and transparent with your Ohio lawyer, you will forge a positive relationship with your attorney that is an important foundation of your case. We care about our clients at The Henry law Firm and genuinely want to help those who might not have had any success with other attorneys taking on their case. Contact us soon to arrange a free consultation so that we can determine if we can take on your case.