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Are You Unhappy with Your Personal Injury Attorney?

The attorney-client relationship is one of the most intimate non-family relationships one can have. An attorney is ethically bound to provide zealous, passionate representation to every client. The client, meanwhile, is entitled to ask questions and raise concerns. Sometimes a client finds that an attorney isn’t providing the kind of service that the client expects or isn’t getting the results the client believes are possible. In those cases, it can make sense for the client to find a new attorney.

Reasons why a client might want to switch

Someone who is in the midst of pursuing a legal claim for a personal injury can be under a lot of pressure, whether from the costs related to the injury, its effect on their personal life, or the impacts on the client’s job. It is important that the relationship with the attorney not also be a source of problems. Clients may want to move on from an attorney who is adding to stress by being rude, belligerent, or intimidating. Clients may also want to move on from an attorney that they believe has committed an ethical violation. An ethical violation might involve a breach of the attorney-client confidential relationship, whether in court or in the course of negotiating a settlement. A violation might also involve a mishandling of funds, or a conflict of interest such as a simultaneous relationship with a party who is adverse to the client.

Reasons not to switch

The most important reason for a client to stick with the attorney they start with is to avoid lengthy delays and potentially undermining their case. A new attorney will need to come up to speed on everything that has happened, potentially taking significant time to re-analyze issues that the previous attorney had already studied. The court may allow for a short delay while the new attorney gets up to speed, but a judge probably won’t allow a plaintiff to inconvenience the defense for very long. A less clear case but one that deserves attention is where the client simply feels that the attorney isn’t getting as much as the client believes is possible to achieve out of the case. Clients rarely have the training and knowledge required to fully evaluate the merits of a case or the kinds of damages that are achievable in court or through settlements. Leaving an attorney for another one solely because that attorney tells you what you want to hear may not be a good strategy. In fact, the attorney who promises the moon probably is overselling the case.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury firm

For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. We strive to provide personal, caring service to each and every client, regardless of the size of the case. If you have been injured and would like to speak to an attorney about your legal options, call us today for a free consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contact page.

Why Attorneys Might Turn Down a Personal Injury Case

Someone who is searching for an attorney to represent them in a personal injury case may be surprised when, after an initial consultation, the attorney turns down the case. Despite the reputation of personal injury attorneys as people willing to take any case, the reality is that most attorneys have a process for evaluating cases. The evaluation process needs to take into account the interests of the law firm, but more importantly it needs to account for the interests of the client. Sometimes the client is better off working with a different firm. There’s no hiding that law firms are businesses, and attorneys naturally do their work in part because they need to earn a living. Naturally there are firms that only accept cases that are worth a certain amount to the firm. But money matters rarely are the sole reason why a law firm turns away a potential client. Other reasons include these:
  • Lack of merit. From time to time a potential client will come to a law firm with questions about a circumstance that, after a closer look, turns out to not meet minimum standards for filing a lawsuit. A client in this circumstance often has a real grievance, but for one or more technical reasons the lawsuit isn’t going to work. A firm’s ethical obligation is to tell the client why the case probably won’t succeed. In extreme cases, attorneys can be disciplined or disbarred for filing frivolous lawsuits.
  • Conflicts of interest. From time to time a client will come to a firm with a case that turns out to raise conflicts with other clients of the firm. For example, if a firm represents a moving company on unrelated matters and is approached by a person who was hit by a truck owned by the moving company, the firm will face a conflict of interest problem if it decides to take the injured person’s case. In some circumstances a firm may be able to take the case despite a conflict of interest, but in others it’s more appropriate for the firm to turn down the work.
  • Lack of necessary expertise. A firm that doesn’t have the right skills to appropriately handle the client’s case should turn the case down. Oftentimes a firm can recommend another firm that might be able handle the case.
  • Insufficient resources. A firm should not take a case that it can’t devote the necessary time and resources to. Some firms take every case with the expectation of following a cookie-cutter approach that might save the firm some money but ultimately doesn’t give the client the best possible representation. Other firms overload their attorneys, with a similar result. A firm should recognize when it is spread too thin to take on new work and caution potential clients that they may be better off finding representation elsewhere.
For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury cases. We are happy to discuss the issues related to your injury to determine if our firm is the right one for you. Please call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.

Avoiding Unethical Lawyers in Nevada

For many people, suffering an injury is the first time in their lives when they need to talk to a lawyer. Driving through Las Vegas it’s hard to miss the billboards from attorneys who promise quick results and huge payouts for injured clients. For every “billboard” law firm there are dozens of others vying for new clients. Adding to the confusion are outfits that prey on the desperate circumstances of people who have been injured by offering pre-settlement loans, sometimes at high interest rates. All of this, combined with the stress and challenges of recovering from an injury, can be confusing. Having the help of an ethical law firm is essential for clients who are trying to make sense of it all. Avoiding an unethical lawyer can be a simple matter of instinct. Sometimes an attorney will offer something that sounds too good to be true. But it’s always a good idea to do a little research and analysis before working with an attorney, especially if the attorney isn’t one that was recommended by a trusted friend. There are a number of ways to examine whether an attorney is ethical:
  • A clean bar profile. A simple step is to search for the attorney on the Nevada State Bar Association’s website. Every licensed attorney’s status and disciplinary history is available on the site for the public to examine. If an attorney has been censured by the bar for unethical behavior, that should serve as a red flag.
  • Willingness to provide free, substantive consultations. Free initial consultations are a staple of personal injury practice. An initial consultation serves numerous purposes, the most important being to help the client get a feel for the options available for their case. A consultation also helps both the client and the law firm decide if the firm is the right fit for what the client needs. An attorney who doesn’t provide free consultations may be a good lawyer who simply has a different business model, but for many injured clients the free initial consultation is key part of their process of evaluating a potential attorney. Clients shouldn’t have to pay for this step.
  • Clarity about process or fees. An ethical attorney will be up-front with new clients about how the case will be handled by the firm and how the firm will be paid. The attorney should provide a clear, written statement of how fees and expenses will be paid. If the client will be asked to assume certain costs, such as the fees for expert witnesses, that should be stated at the outset of the engagement. A lawyer who draws in clients with promises of low fees and huge awards, but who springs inflated expenses on the client at the end of the process, is not acting in an ethical manner.
  • Putting the client first. An attorney’s obligation is to provide rigorous, passionate representation of the whole client. Among other things, this means that the relationship between the attorney needs to be about more than just money. The attorney needs to be a careful, thoughtful listener. Many law firms operate as “litigation shops,” which try to earn money for their partners by doing high volume, low quality work. Clients of these types of firms may have difficulty getting personal attention from their attorneys, who are busy chasing down new clients rather than serving the needs of their existing ones.
The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. We are proud of our long tradition of thoughtful, caring service to each and every client. If you have been injured and you have questions about how to pursue a case, please contact us today for a free attorney consultation. We’re available at 702-388-4476 or through our website.

How Attorney-Client Privilege Works in Nevada

Attorney-client privilege is a key component of the American legal system. By ensuring that many kinds of conversations and other interactions between an attorney and client are protected from being subjected to subpoenas and evidence requests, the privilege ensures that clients can have frank, open discussions with attorneys without concern that an opponent might use them in litigation. Like a fortress under siege by an attacking army, attorney-client privilege can come under assault during the course of a case, as opponents look for ways to draw out information that doesn’t qualify for protection. Therefore attorneys and clients need to take care to preserve the privilege wherever possible. Nevada law provides that a client has broad authority to refuse to disclose and prevent others from disclosing confidential communications that fall within three categories:
  1. Communications between the client and the client’s lawyer.
  2. Communications between the client’s lawyer and the lawyer’s representative, such as a paralegal.
  3. Communications made for purposes of facilitating the rendition of professional legal services to the client, such as if the client’s attorney has a discussion with the attorney of a third party about a shared issue.
The attorney-client privilege applies to conversations between an attorney and client even at the very beginning of their relationship, before an engagement letter is signed and even if the client decides to not hire the lawyer. This means, for example, that a preliminary consultation about a potential case would be covered. This allows individuals to seek out advice and evaluate attorneys with an open and honest discussion of their questions. There are several important limits on attorney-client privilege. Some of these limits prevent communications from ever being protected by the privilege, while others simply eliminate it.
  • The client may waive privilege. Waivers can be intentional or accidental. In general, talking about a privileged communication in a nonconfidential context can threaten to destroy its protections, or prevent the privilege from applying.
  • The privilege does not apply to communications by a client who is knowingly seeking advice in connection with planning criminal activity.
  • In certain cases the privilege doesn’t apply where the communications themselves are of central importance to the case. For example, if the attorney helped a deceased client prepare a will, the communications between the client and attorney won’t be privileged if there’s a dispute about the client’s intent. Another example is if the communications pertain to claims of wrongdoing by the attorney.
  • Attorneys are required to disclose information that the attorney believes will prevent a crime that could lead to serious injury or death.
For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in cases involving personal injury, workers’ compensation, and other disputes. Contact us today for a free attorney consultation about your case. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

What Happens During a “Free Consultation” with an Attorney?

At GGRM we offer free initial consultations to potential clients who are looking for help with their cases. A question that many people have is what goes on in a “consultation.” Is it just a sales pitch for the firm? Is it a trick to draw people into paying fees? The truth is that a free consultation is a good way to ensure that the client’s best interests are served, while also giving the law firm an opportunity to examine whether it can offer the kind of help the client really needs. In an initial consultation there are several important things that will be discussed:
  • The facts of the case. Whether the client is looking for advice about a car accident, a dog attack, or a workers’ compensation claim, the attorneys will ask questions to develop a picture of the story behind the potential claim. Attorneys may ask questions that probe into areas that are surprising or unexpected, because the merits of a claim may rest on grounds that a non-lawyer wouldn’t know to expect.
  • The client’s goals. An essential feature of a good personal injury law firm is a commitment to the personal needs and goals of each client. In a “litigation shop” the emphasis can be on high volume, cookie-cutter approaches that leave clients out of the loop and feeling pressured to take steps they’d rather not take. At GGRM we take the time to get to know our clients so that we can incorporate the whole picture into our strategy.
  • Potential legal options. Filing a lawsuit isn’t always the right solution in every case. After listening to the client’s story an attorney may offer several avenues for addressing the client’s problem. That might mean suggesting a lawsuit, or it might involve other solutions, such as filing a complaint with a regulatory agency, making a claim with an insurer, or opening a negotiation. For each option, the attorney will describe the overall process and the attorney’s opinion about the likelihood of achieving the client’s goals. By discussing options the attorney gives the client an opportunity to understand what he or she will get by working with the firm.
  • An explanation of costs and the attorney-client relationship. If it appears that the client will want to engage the attorney to assist with the case the attorney should take the time to explain how the firm makes its money. Many personal injury cases are handled on contingency, which means that the firm gets paid from the compensation award after a successful outcome. If the facts of the client’s case dictate a different approach the attorney will discuss those issues.
For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has served clients in the Las Vegas area in cases involving personal injury, auto accidents, and workers’ compensation disputes. If you are searching for a lawyer to assist with your case, we are happy to provide you with a free attorney consultation. Call 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.