You may believe that you have an excellent legal claim against your employer because you have researched your issue and have found a lawyer that you believe is right for your case. When that lawyer says no, you try again. That lawyer also declines to represent you, leaving you to wonder what was wrong.
It is possible that your case is not as good as you believe that it is. It may also be possible that you said something to turn the attorneys away. There are few employment lawyers who represent employees who are available, and there are even fewer who have experience. Experienced employment attorneys like the lawyers at Swartz Swidler are extremely busy. If you contact lawyers, it is important for you to understand what to avoid saying to keep them from turning you away regardless of how solid your case might be.
1. This is an easy win for you
In employment law, there is no such thing as an easy win. If your case is really that strong, you wouldn’t need a lawyer. Becoming an employment attorney involves four years of undergraduate education, three years of law school and years of practice. In employment law, a majority of plaintiffs do not win. Your attorney at Swartz Swidler will work hard to win for you. If your case settles early, it is likely because of your lawyer’s reputation, skill and experience rather than the easiness of your claim.
2. You will not agree to settle for less than seven figures.
There are caps on the recovery amounts for most employment law claims. Even when there are no caps, it is rare for employment cases to return settlements of seven figures or more. When you say this, your attorney hears that you are unrealistic and that you will be a difficult client. Insisting on a trial may make it less likely for you to win if your attorney has recommended that you accept a settlement offer.
3. Your employer will settle to avoid bad publicity.
Many employers do not settle to avoid publicity, and some litigate more fiercely when there is the increased pressure of it. Employers understand that it is difficult for plaintiffs to succeed at trial in employment law cases. Your attorney will need to be able to show the defense attorney that there is merit to your claim in order to secure a settlement, and he or she is not allowed to make threats of talking to the media about your case if your employer doesn’t agree to settle.
4. You’re the seventh lawyer who I’ve interviewed.
Attorneys immediately wonder why none of the other attorneys wanted your case when you tell them that you have interviewed numerous lawyers. They take these kinds of statements as meaning that there is something wrong with your case or that you are simply playing games. There is no need to attempt to pit lawyers against one another, and it is a turnoff when prospective clients try to do so. It is perfectly fine for you to interview several lawyers, but it is not a great approach to broadcast that.
5. Other lawyers said they’d charge me less.
If you have received a lower quote, accept it if you’d like. When you are dealing with an experienced attorney, you should expect to be charged more.
6. The last lawyer that you had attempted to throw you under the bus.
It is a huge turnoff when people claim that their previous attorneys tried to force them to accept unreasonably low offers. Many employment lawyers work on either a partial- or full-contingency basis. It is highly unlikely that an attorney whose best interest is served by securing you the highest possible settlement would push you into accepting a low offer. In addition, if you are unable to work with one attorney, others may worry that you may be unable to work with them as well.
7. You were told something different by our staff.
We work with our staff closely. When we hear our office staff answer calls, we sometimes later talk to prospective clients who misquote what they were told by them. This may include incorrect fee quotes, incorrect information about their cases or other things. Misrepresenting what the legal staff has told you scores very few points with employment lawyers.
8. You want to be represented on a pro se basis.
If you need free legal help, you should check with Legal Services of New Jersey or the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network. Most employment lawyers cannot afford to work for free. There are no-cost services that might be available to you through one of those organizations.
9. You’d like to negotiate the fee that you were quoted over the phone.
When we quote fees, that is our cost. We will not agree to negotiate our fees down or to work for free.
10. You forgot your appointment, or you give another excuse for skipping your appointment.
Lawyers have limited time just like everyone else. When you do not respect the time constraints that they have, they are less willing to work with you. If you can’t attend, be courteous and cancel with enough notice that they can fill their time slot.
11. You didn’t complete the questionnaire.
Don’t refuse to provide the requested information. Your attorney will use it to evaluate your claim.
11. You failed to bring in the requested paperwork.
If your attorney has asked that you bring in important documents, do so. They should be organized in such a way that you can find the documents that you need. Attorneys do not have the time to sort through disorganized paperwork or to try to locate the documents that you should have.
12. You’ll do all of the work for the lawyer.
When you show up with binders full of legal research and tell the attorney that you will do everything, the lawyer is unlikely to accept your case. Lawyers attend law school for a reason, and they do not enjoy being second-guessed and micromanaged by their clients.
If you need the help of an employment attorney, it is important to always remember to offer them the same level of respect and professionalism that you expect for them to give your case. It is also important to always be courteous to their office staff. After you do retain your lawyer, maintaining a good relationship is quintessential to your case.
If you would like to learn more about your own case, contact the experienced team at Swartz Swidler today.