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Tuesday
Feb212012

Hiring the "Nice" Attorney a Smart Move for Most

Injury AttorneyInjury Attorney San Fernando Valley 

 

by David B. Bobrosky
(818) 907-3254

A friend of mine says that if he ever hears someone say that his attorney is a nice guy, he or she is fired. He says he doesn’t hire his attorney to be “nice.” If his attorney is nice when interacting with the other side, he or she is not doing their job. 

Mark Hermann published an article recently (“Is Our Lawyer Aggressive Enough”)  on the popular legal website “Above the Law” regarding a similar comment from one of his in-house lawyer colleagues. The comment focused on a concern of whether their outside counsel was “aggressive enough” during a meeting with other attorneys.   Mark described how an attorney can be just as successful, or more successful, being quietly confident as opposed to being a “blowhard.” He also stated another downside to being the type of attorney my friend looks for: 

[B]eing a blowhard can in fact undermine a lawyer’s effectiveness. As a client, I really don’t need to spend money on tangential discovery disputes caused by lawyers with too much testosterone being unable to get along. Being civilized can reduce costs and help speed a case to resolution. 

I completely agree with Mark. In fact, I think the negative effect of being a “blowhard” is magnified in the area of personal injury litigation. 

A personal injury attorney can, and should, be a “nice guy (or gal)”. Comparing two equally skilled lawyers, being  “nice ” helps at every stage of personal injury litigation. 

  • As a client, you want your attorney to be “nice” to you. You want the attorney to truly care about you and your case. This is more important in personal injury litigation than in any other area. If you have suffered a serious injury, or have lost a loved one, you are very vulnerable. You need to feel as though you can trust the attorney and that he or she is working your case as if you are a member of his or her own family. 

  • Statistics show that most cases settle prior to going to trial. Therefore, attorneys must present your case to defense counsel and insurance adjusters. In other words they need to sell your case. Your attorney needs to convince them to ask their superiors for authority to pay money on your case.  Being an attorney the other side likes and respects goes a long way in obtaining maximum value on your case. 

  • For the cases that do go to trial, it will benefit you if your attorney is able to cooperate with the attorney on the other side. Cooperation makes the trial much smoother. Judges and jurors also like “nice” and cooperative attorneys.  They do not appreciate attorneys who are always fighting with each other and making their time in jury duty even longer. An unhappy jury is generally not good for a Plaintiff’s case. 

Now, don’t confuse being “nice” for being a push over. An attorney should extend professional courtesies to the other side when possible, and when it does not hurt your case. Regardless, your attorney can, and must, vigorously pursue your case. However, your attorney should do this with the utmost professionalism and respect for the other side and the Court. It will get your attorney and YOUR case much farther.


David B. Bobrosky is a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney at our Firm. Contact him at dbobrosky@lewitthackman.com, 818.990.2120.

 
Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

Tuesday
Sep272011

Social Media Issues Affecting Jury Trials

Injury Attorney Los AngelesLos Angeles Injury Lawyer 

 

by David B. Bobrosky
(818) 907-3254

 

There’s a great buzz lately over social media issues, with topics ranging from cyber bullying to privacy rights and sexual harassment. The issues even affect the justice system:

Recently a juror in Texas was kicked off a jury after he sent a “friend” request to the Defendant in the trial through Facebook.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A juror attempted to ‘friend’ the Defendant during a trial regarding a car accident.  The juror pled guilty and was sentenced to two days of community service. 

Amazingly, this is not an isolated social media ethics incident affecting the legal system.  Several stories recently have detailed how jurors are misbehaving through the use of social media.  

An article in the New York Law Journal in March (“Social Media Misbehavior by Jurors Afflicts Trial Process”)  broke down the misconduct into four general areas: 

  • Publishing information about a trial through Twitter or Facebook 
  • Researching facts or legal principles through the internet 
  • Contacting or “friending” parties, lawyers, witnesses or judges 
  • Broadcasting internal decision, such as the progress of finding a jury for a specific case, or communicating with other jurors prior to deliberations 

Another article in California Lawyer (“Jurors Gone Wild”) described data from Reuters Legal citing nearly 100 verdicts over the past decade that have been called into question because of a juror’s internet research or social media comments.  The article cites 21 cases in which judges granted new trials or overturned verdicts in the last two years. 

Getting a Handle on Ethical Issues of Social Media 

There is no easy answer to figuring out how to get a handle on the ethical issues of using social media in courtrooms.  The most drastic suggested methods have the Courts confiscating phones, laptops, iPads, and other devices upon entering the courtroom.  

Some regulators even call for the jamming of mobile networks within the courthouse.  Of course, even these drastic methods cannot prevent jurors from improperly using social media once they leave. 

Of course, these solutions only prevent jurors from engaging in these activities at the courthouse. There is nothing that can be done to truly stop jurors from being able to engage in such behavior at home. And considering the fact that we are a society that “googles” everything, this is not an easy problem to solve.

Social Media Ethics in California

California has been one of the more aggressive states in terms of trying to crack down on jurors’ improper use of social media. 

Two years ago California updated both its civil and criminal jury instructions.  The jury instructions specifically warn jurors not to post any information about the trial or their jury service on the internet in any form.  They further warn jurors not to communicate with anyone associated with the trial through e-mail, text messages, or any other media.  Lastly, they warn jurors not to use the internet to do any type of research. 

Taking the warnings a step further, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill in August that could make willful disobedience of these warnings criminal contempt.  This means that an offending juror could serve jail time for violating these social media prohibitions.  

Hopefully, these aggressive steps will help. In the immediate future, however, attorneys and judges will be spending extra time warning jurors of the consequences of such actions.

David B. Bobrosky is a Los Angeles Injury Lawyer. Call him by dialling 818.990.2120, or reach him via e-mail: dbobrosky@lewitthackman.com.

 

 
Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.
LEWITT HACKMAN | 16633 Ventura Boulevard, Eleventh Floor, Encino, California 91436-1865 | 818.990.2120