“Lawyer says he’s too busy to take my case”

About two or three times per month I get a call from someone saying that they’ve got a great case but all the lawyers they’ve called are too busy to take it. This one particularly rubs me the wrong way. I’ve been doing personal injury cases for a long time and I’ve never seen a lawyer who’s too busy to take a good case. But I have seen a lot of lawyers who don’t want to tell the person on the phone that they don’t have much of a case, so they tell them they’re “too busy” and send them on for someone else to finally give them the bad news. I say, tell ’em the truth up front. As the statesman-lawyer Elihu Root put in, many years ago, “About half the practice of a decent lawyer consists in telling clients that they are damn fools and should stop”. I may not put it quite that way every time, but I believe it’s much better to tell your client, or prospective client, the bad news up front than let them think they have a great case when they don’t. To do otherwise leaves them feeling betrayed when it comes time to settle or try the case and the results they expected just aren’t there. Sometimes being professional means telling people things they don’t want to hear.

About johngrice

Retired small town lawyer, lifelong motorcyclist, traveler and old guy sitting around thinking.
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1 Response to “Lawyer says he’s too busy to take my case”

  1. Bill Simon says:

    I agree, professionals have a responsibility to their communities to be honest and forthright.


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