"Ok Is Not Good Enough". So, "Is My Lawyer Just Ok?"

Burdine & Brown Jan. 23, 2020

AT&T has a new ad campaign that tries to imply if you settle for their competitors, it is just OK services you will get, not exceptional services. A few of their commercials are great but, by and large, the consumer doesn't make the connection that with AT&T you get great services.

But there is a message here and it applies to the lawyer out there very clearly. Here is how the as runs.

A fellow is in a hospital bed waiting to be rolled into the surgery ward, with his wife by his side. Both look worried. The guy looks at the nurse and asks: “How good is my doctor?” The nurse says he's OK. They are puzzled. Then we hear the doctor about to come into the hospital room stating to all within earshot: “Guess who has just been reinstated!”

As he enters the room he says to his patient in bed, “are you nervous?” The answer was “yes”. The doctor says “That's OK, so am I”. Then he turns and as he walks away he says “We'll figure it out.”

What a scream! We'll figure it out is clearly not good enough for a surgical procedure. And neither is it good enough for legal services.

I find that all kinds of lawyers say they can handle workers' compensation or automobile accident cases. Yet they are ill-experienced, having only a State Bar of Georgia license with no experience or worse yet, having handled cases to a mere OK outcome/ to an overall “C” outcome.

How does a consumer determine if he/she is getting “the real deal”, a genuinely competent attorney in a particular field?

I say ask a few strong questions and don't let the lawyer “B.S” you with his/her answer.

  • How many workers' compensation or personal injury cases do you handle each year?

  • How many times do you actually try a case in front of the judge or jury each year?

  • Have you handled a case just like mine? If so, tell me about that case, I have time. (Lawyers love to talk about their cases).

  • Do you have experience with the doctors who are in my case? What do you know about them?

  • How successful are you at Mediation? What kind of preparation do you engage in before a Mediation?

Asking these questions or a variation of these questions will give you a pretty good idea if you have a “just OK” lawyer or an expert who knows how to handle your case. Take notes of your conversation then hold that lawyer's feet to the fire.

You may need to remind the lawyer later what he said. And if the lawyer side-steps your questions, get up, shake their hand, and walk out and keep looking for the right one. He or she is out there.