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Your Lawyer Is Only As Good As...

Hire a lawyer who commands respect in the world in which he or she operates.

by Tim Sansone

Being a “soft-sell” personality type, I enjoy listening to others talk about themselves and what they do for a living. That’s why I enjoy talking with small-business leaders. Frankly, they have a lot more to teach me than I have to teach them.
Business leaders who have achieved undisputable success in life or who are clearly destined to do so are animated, lively, energetic and bold in their vision; their entrepreneurial spirit shines when I am in their presence. I am motivated and energized by their energy.
My reaction to them reminds me of Meg Ryan’s iconic scene in “When Harry Met Sally,” when the woman witnessing Ryan’s explosive “enthusiasm” in the restaurant responds to the waitress by declaring, “I’ll have what she’s having.” In other words, they’ve made me a believer; they’ve got my “buy-in.”
Often during these conversations the subject turns to who I am and what I do. After years of honing my (modifiable) 30-second elevator speech, I have an answer that works for me and goes something like this: “I defend manufacturers of products – products that are accused of killing or hurting people. My job is to defend the design and engineering behind the product and convince 12 ordinary people that the product didn’t do it.”
The reaction I get to the part about “killing and hurting people” is usually nonverbal but obvious and evident in the sudden twist in their expression. Sometimes they can’t help themselves: “Wow, I asked you what you did, and you gave me a straight answer.”
Here’s where the “soft-sell” personality type sees his opening. At this point in the conversation I talk about the importance of candor and directness in the legal business. In a world that is mostly gray with little that is truly black or white, the person who can speak clearly, directly and in a relatable fashion is king or queen. Jurors respond favorably, and trustingly, to this rare breed, as do opposing counsel, judges, clerks and others we deal with in this world.
Mind you, all those actors in this world will not necessarily agree with you, but they will usually respect you for your candor.
Your lawyer is only as good as the respect he or she commands when operating in the business of law – in this “world of law.” Choose a lawyer you respect. If “Better Call Saul” (please forgive the “Breaking Bad” pop culture reference) is not the calling card that inspires you to pick up the phone, chances are you want someone more suitable and more to your liking – someone you can respect. Saul Goodman can “bail you out” in a pinch, using extralegal means if necessary, but you are not the type of person who would ever need someone like Saul. Are you?
Hire a lawyer you respect. Equally important, hire a lawyer who commands respect in the world in which he or she operates – respect from peers, associates and colleagues.

Tim Sansone is a shareholder with Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard. He can be reached at 314-446-4250 or tsansone@sandbergphoenix.com.

Submitted 5 years 192 days ago
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Categories: categoryLegal Matters
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