CHOOSING THE RIGHT LAWYER

Choosing the right lawyer for your particular legal problem can be challenging, confusing, and stressful. Lawyers are trained in law school in many different areas of the law. There are certain “core” subjects that each law student must take in his/her three (3) years of school. These are the required courses, just like a student has in college. The law student is then given the choice of some elective courses which can represent the interests of the student. Many times the choice of electives is guided more by what is on the Bar Examination then what interests the law student has at the time. There is no specialization program in most law schools so when students graduate and pass the Bar Examination they have a broad, general knowledge of many different areas of the law. I would say that young men and women getting out of law school are very similar to a doctor who practices in family medicine, like at an MEA Clinic or other similar walk-in clinic.

When a lawyer passess the Bar Examination his learning really begins. If the lawyer works in a firm then he has the experience of the older lawyers to guide him. If the lawyer opens his own office then he learns as he goes. Even after 4-5 years a new lawyer can have very little exposure to serious legal problems. So, as a individual with a legal problem, how do you choose the right lawyer? I will give you my opinion. If you have a problem that is going to court, you are going to want an lawyer experienced in court trials. Courtroom experience means the lawyer knows how to speak in public and he knows the Rules of Evidence and the Rules of Civil Procedure, or if you are charged with a crime the lawyer must know the Rules of Criminal Procedure.

There are many different small claims that could be handled by lawyers who have little court experience. However, large claims such as serious accident/injury cases or any criminal case should only be handled by an experienced trial attorney. When you are dealing with a catastropic, permanent injury or a criminal case that could result in jail time or fines, do you want an inexperienced attorney standing in court and fighting for your rights? Think about this for a minute. I have practiced for over twenty nine (29) years. During that time I have handled eighteen (18) capital murder trials. I have guided men and women through murder charges, robbery, sexual battery, grand larceny, drug charges, white collar offenses, appeals and just about every other kind of charge you can imagine. I have defended judges, doctors, dentists, servicemen, and average, working people. In the civil area I have helped injured and defrauded people recover over three (300) hundred million in judgments and settlements. When it comes to experience, I have it and I have done it.

Experience is important but there is more a lawyer needs to help a client. A lawyer needs to stay current in both the law and legal techniques. Lawyers are required to have twelve (12) hours of education each year. I think that is a minimum. I travel across the country studying law and learning new legal skills from other lawyers. In the Summer of 2009 I took off three (3) weeks from work and went to the Trial Lawyer’s College in Wyoming. The Trial Lawyer’s College was established by the famed lawyer Jerry Spence. If you don’t know Jerry Spence, be sure to Google him. I graduated from Jerry’s college and plan to continue my education in his techniques.

The final thing I believe a lawyer needs, and I think it may be the most important, is compassion for the client. In law school students are told and taught to be dispassionate. According to the philosphy of most law school students should only use logic to solve problems. The problem with this teaching method is that people are made up of emotions and feelings. Everything in life is connected with feelings. In my opinion justice is a feeling. A lawyer needs to have the ability to emotionally connect with his/her client and he needs the ability to care for his client. In my opinion, if you don’t care, you don’t need to help the client. ALL OF MY BEST VICTORIES HAVE COME BECAUSE I CARED FOR MY CLIENTS.

I am not going to tell the reader of this article that Coxwell & Associates is the only law firm that contains great lawyers. We are not. I have lawyer friends who are very good and we sometimes work together on cases. Some of them surprise me though because they look at clients as objects, not people. At Coxwell & Associates you can be assured that if we accept your case we will respect and care for you. Most clients end up becoming our friends. If you have a question about a legal problem please feel free to call or e mail one of our attorneys.

Merrida Coxwell is the managing partner of Coxwell & Associates. He is recognized as an experienced trial and appellate attorney. He is in demand as a lecturer for lawyers and is asked to give live commentary on television stations concerning legal topics and issues.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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