A couple of months back I had a nice phone with the business manager of a big union. They are an ethical union that maintains a list of lawyers to recommend to their members. I say that they are ethical because you don’t get on their list by giving them cash, presents, nights out with strippers, etc. Sad but true that there are some unions who only recommend attorneys because they pay for it. Those aren’t unions that look out for their members.
I’m proud to be on their list and there a lot of other good names on there as well. They were updating their list and asked if I knew about certain attorneys. A couple of them were at firms where the main attorneys were now retired. One of them is listed as a firm, but it’s really just one guy.
This list was old and I do think most of these recommendations were good at one time. The point is that just because someone was a great attorney ten years ago, doesn’t mean that they are the right one to hire now.
The number one reason a lawyer goes from great to meh is age. They start thinking about winding down their practice. They spend the winter in Florida or Arizona or traveling. They hire a younger associate to do most the work. They start to lose the fighter gene that made them so great a long time ago. Covid hasn’t helped either as a lot of people have been isolated during the last few years and that has hurt them mentally.
These things happen. It’s OK for a lawyer to want a life outside of work. But if they don’t want to put in the effort that is needed to be great anymore, then they aren’t right for you. And while there are other reasons such as burnout, family trouble, health, etc. that causes attorneys to not be good at their job, age is really the one you should be thinking about.
If you suffer a major injury today, it’s possible your case could last five years or more. So if you hire an attorney who is 65, you better hope that they want to still practice law and will be good at it at age 70. And if they want to practice law at age 70 you better find out why. Most successful lawyers get out way before then. I’ll be honest that one big reason I’ve turned my practice in to a network of attorneys is that I don’t want to be in a situation where I want to retire but can’t because I’d have to lessen my service or abandon a client.
Big picture, you want a lawyer who is experienced, but not too experienced. And if you get a recommendation for a lawyer from someone who says they did a good job for them, ask them when it was. If it was a while ago and the lawyer is old now, proceed with caution and make sure you really interview the attorney to see if they are the right fit for you.
What I can do for you is listen to the facts about your case, offer advice based on 25 years of experience and recommend which lawyer I know is best for your case and unique set of facts. If you would like help you can reach out for free and in confidence at 312-346-5578.